Air freshener fails to alleviate the stench

Strangely I have always considered senior daughter to be our family environmentalist. As we live in the States, she is there to remind us where we are going wrong. Her views are pretty mainstream as far as Europeans are concerned but extreme for our American cousins. For example, rather than use the car to go and collect the turkey for the holiday festivities, she cycled. She returned on her bike with the fowl in her back pack after a two and a half hour round trip.

I will avoid mention of her views on toilets, since I need to avoid scatological references as I am a Brit. I had not considered that there was a possibility that somebody else might climb on the band wagon, to ceremoniously beat our conscious and sub-conscious selves. It is therefore with some surprise that I engage my youngest son in conversation. I enquire why he is pinching his nostrils shut?

“Because of the badest smell!” he screams, keeping his distance. I struggle to gain a purchase on his person and park him on my lap to extract further details. He writhes and wriggles making retching noises. Loud ones.
“What is the badest smell dear?”
“It is you! You are the badest smell. You are worster than peanuts!”
My! That bad!
“You don't think I smell very nice?”
“NO!” I didn't really need clarification there, more a moment to gather my wits.
“What can we do about that problem?” He pauses to gaze at the ceiling awaiting inspiration.
“I know! You can be living somewhere else?”
“Where would you suggest?”
“In dah garden. You can be living in dah garden in a tent.”
“But I hate camping!”
“You won't be 'dah camping,' you will be dah living dere.”
So much logic! I need to re-configure my brain.
“But I don't want to live in a tent in the garden. I will be lonely. Won't you be lonely without me?”
What a stupid question. Any first year lawyer knows that you should never ask a question that you cannot predict the answer to.
“You will be lonely but I will be stinky free.”
I am somewhat flummoxed, not for the first time. Spouse sticks his head around the door to clarify:
“it's the Marmite! You didn't clean your teeth and gargle with mouthwash before you breathed on him.”

It would appear that the health and well being of a fellow human being, is less important than a pollutant free environment. [Ref 1]

[Ref 1] ecocentrism

after ECOCENTRIC adj.
The view or belief that environmental concerns should take precedence over the needs and rights of human beings considered in isolation.


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The Wanderer returns

Senior daughter sits at the dining room table brushing up on her newly acquired skill; Portuguese. Six months in Williamstown Maschusettes, has been more than half a year as far as I'm concerned. I hover between her, her smaller siblings and the kitchen. I don't want to disturb her studies. I need an excuse to interrupt.

“So, what do you fancy for supper then?” I ask nonchalantly. I immediately have her undivided attention.

“Hmm,” she muses, “curry?”
“I can make it today but it will taste better tomorrow.” At the mention of supper, her little sister bounces into the kitchen, all ears, to check whether our choices
fits into her narrow menu.
“True. What have we got? Homity pie?” Senior son follows his sister like a shadow. His little brother is a reflection, hovering in case he needs to duck for cover.
“Yours for the asking dear,” I beam.
“What it is?”
“What is what dear?”
“Hominy?”
“No, not hominy,' hominid!'”
“No, she means homonym, don't you mum?”
“Actually neither. It's just 'Homity' pie, it's vegetarian.”
A universal scream of agony emanates at the mention of 'vegetables.'

“Er not much progress on the food front in six months then?” adds the wanderer, as junior staggers from the room amid retching noises. The other two run off wailing, one copying the other though I'm not sure who is copying whom?
“I know! How about fish pie!” she says to me, now that we are alone. I drift off into visions of glossy béchamel sauce coating the back of a wooden spoon, fluffy potatoes with crisp brown peaks, succulent flakes of tender white fish, a hint of Bayleaf and powdering of allspice. “Well?” she queries as I fail to respond. I drag myself away from rising visions of anchovies, kippers, roll mop herring and fish cakes, “could do, but I'll have to nip out to the shops.”
“Tell you what, you whiz off and I'll manage the little tikes.”
“O.k., you keep the two big uns and I'll take the screamer.”
“Oh no, that's not fair!”
“It's o.k. I can manage one screamer in the shops, it's when I've got all of them that it damages my nerve endings.”

With the plan in place I take him 'with the lungs' and his pair of shoes out to the garage, “no fishing, I hate the fishing, fishing is bad.”

At the supermarket, at the fish counter I stand close to my youngest son as he lies on the tiled floor flapping like a beached salmon. I give my order to the clerk. I am impressed that the chiller cabinet works effectively and that as a result, the odour of fish is virtually undetectable. I ignore the cries of “I am dying, the smell is killing my nose, oh no, my nose is falling off, agh, agh, agh.”

As he hands me my brown wrapped package, the clerk nods in the direction of the salmon, who is still rolling and flapping on the floor, “is he gonna be o.k.?”
“Oh yes, he'll be fine, he doesn't have to actually eat it, just stay in the same room. This is like a trial run.”
“Howdaya mean.”
“Can he stay in the same shop within a two yard radius of me whilst I buy the fish?” The checker tweaks his white brimmed hat but says nothing as we depart.

A complete success really.


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Animal, vegetable or mineral? From way back when…..


“What is dat?” he asks breathlessly.

“It is a sweet potato,” I explain, worryied whether it is indeed a sweet potato or whether I am unwittingly providing him with false ammunition to beat me with later.
There seems to be a great deal of confusion between what is a yam and what is a sweet potato? I have never sought to clarify this deficit, despite having been a resident for more than a decade and a citizen for a few years, because they are both loathsome. As a vegetable they are vile because they are sweet, but to put them in a pie is equally as reprehensible. Who ever heard of carrot pie? [Translate = a transvestite of a flan]

“No, it is a humungeous lemon!” he announces. That probably means that it is a yam and not a sweet potato? What on earth have I purchased, and why did I listen to the advice of the checker. [translation = probity of checker dubious due to the fact that she was unfamiliar with Swedes. {sub translation = rutabagas]

“It is a potato lemon?” he blurts, raising his eye brow, hoping for a hit.
I prod it, to see if the skin will come off yet.
“May be,” I add dubiously.
“It is disgusting anyways, any road up!” [Aside = gosh he automatically translated himself!] Soon junior son will be five.

For the first three and a half years of his little life he ate almost an exclusive diet of sweet potatoes, as only orange food was acceptable by that time. As he reached his fourth birthday, pureed carrots were out and he had an orange aura about his person. [translation = carrotine poisoning?] He would surely have perished without the intake of the humble sweet potato in such vast and exclusive quantities. I can't say that I view little orange gold fish crackers as a nutritional advance, orange or not.

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