Monday, 3 March 2014


Vol 37 Balloons   

If you’ve stuck with me so far, you may well have formed the perfectly correct impression that I'm a midge on the mean side and, if needing to spend hard earned dosh on anything other than wine and sun, will instantly begin to work out how I could get it cheaper, as is the case in this, as well as a veritable smorgasbord of mistakes.

There comes a day to all mothers when you realise that something is over, never to return.  Such a day was mine in one particularly sweltering summer holiday when, sweaty and weary of being followed around and mithered and having ordered my evidently growing while I wasn’t looking, son from the room – I’m big enough to go anywhere I want -  in ever more pressing tones, I went to shove him physically out and found him planted tree trunk-like in the lounge.  Immovable, like Madam Thatcher, the lad was not for turning.

Anyway, on to the mistake proper.  The double bind about home brew is that, while being mildly entertaining in the making of, it holds out the carrot of saving money in the long term while requiring an absolute fortune in the purchasing of the apparently necessary equipment, the likes of which, if you’re anything like me, becoming bored and perhaps lighting upon a new diversion, you are apt to leave in the loft for the next ten years before finally moving house and forgetting it. On this occasion, I’d quite appropriately since it was summer, decided to make cider.   No need for demi-johns, I reasoned, already having enough empty bottles for a medium sized democracy to float off sos’s in.  Now, a bucket already in hand, what could replace the wildly expensive airlocks while itself being relatively inexpensive, I mused and, having leftovers already from somebody’s birthday, eventually hit upon the novel idea of using balloons and set to.

All seemed to be progressing pleasingly and the brew brewed somewhat flamboyantly with its colourful hats on, while we whiled away the days soaking our toes in miniature pools while giddily daring the dog in, secretly from the man of the house sneaking enough bricks back in the boot of his jag with which to construct a barbie, dripping ice lollies and losing our flip flops.  Until, one hot and humid afternoon, nipping into the kitchen to extract three more tip tops from the freezer, a cidery bomb went off in the pantry.   True to form I legged it, dropping scissors and tops en route, for the sanctuary of the lawn followed by boom after almighty boom.          

An urgent discussion ensued between mother and son while smaller child cried unhelpfully over the din as to precisely which one of us would venture valiantly to investigate the mayhem.  Finally, me and small child being mere female and he now being old enough to go anywhere, strode off manfully to confront the combat zone previously known as the pantry, plastic sword in one hand, shield in the other.