Halcyon Days

Most Sundays, Mum would cook lunch, we called it dinner
She spent hours perfecting it
I would stand by her side and marvel
How such pleasure was choreographed.

No fancy measures, no stress
She would explain, “Yorkshire pudding”
must be put into hot fat
The hotter the better, to make it rise.

Par-boiled peeled potatoes
Drained from the saucepan and shaken
These took longer than the Yorkshires
The joint was often brisket, or any cheap cut.

Vegetables, were mostly boiled
Birdseye custard powder, prepared in the pan
Ready for when we were all full
Empty plates and dishes removed to the kitchen.

Whilst all this was developing
Mum sprinkled rice into our one Pyrex dish
With sugar, stirred in with milk
I can still smell the milk rice pudding.

Sometimes, us three boys would argue
If one got more of the rice skin than another
Both Mum and Dad got exasperated
Mum suggested a solution.

Each week, we boys had to take it in turns
One of us boys had to dish up the three bowls of pudding
The other two would choose which of the three dishes
They wanted, before the server had the least favoured dish.

It stopped the squabbling, mostly,
Dad was the final arbiter of most disputes
When of if, we could not!
Discussion and compromise politely was urged .

He could be tough, if any of us
Shouted or threw a stroppy temper tantrum
In fact more than once he declared
Than none of us could have pudding.

We generally learned to get on with each other
As the growing up years passed
Mum’s milk rice pudding
Was a treat, I still miss today.


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