Monday, 9 February 2009

A moral maze

Today, I faced two dilemmas. One involved taste and a coat and one involved morals and chicken drumsticks. Neither were related although I expect it won't be long before the Tate Modern exhibits a piece of art entitled 'My Coat of Many Drumsticks' consisting of a coat made of, well, chicken drumsticks. (My money's on Damien Hirst.)

First, the coat. It is Heather's 21st birthday next week. I've been asking her for the last 3 weeks what she would like for her birthday. I know that she would really like cold, hard cash, but she knows that I don't approve of this kind of gift for a birthday especially a 21st. She knows that I want to buy an actually pressie and do it up in nice paper with ribbons and stuff and watch her little face light up as she opens it.

So today I am in Bluewater. Andy and I have marched around the whole thing once and he has reassured me that as long as I keep going in a circle I shall ALWAYS end up back at M & S and WILL NOT get lost. Therefore, I feel safe for him to leave me as he goes in search of a Valentine's present (and when I find out for whom I shall punch her lights out.) We arrange to meet in just over an hour for some lunch. I go in search of Heather's birthday present. Then I realise I don't know what I'm looking for so I call her.

'I'm in Bluewater,' I say. 'What would you like for your birthday?' She umms and ahhs a bit and is no help whatsoever. 'Tell you what,' I say, 'have a think and text me.' She agrees this is a plan. Off I go again. Twenty minutes later she sends a text saying 'I don't know. Go with your instincts.'
That was helpful, I think. I text her back saying I'm erring towards jewellery (only because I'm standing outside a jeweller's). She replies that jewellery sounds good. Or maybe a nice handbag or a coat. Go with your instinct, she says.

For heaven's sake, Heather, what kind of suggestion is that??? A wild one, that's what! Do you realise how horribly wrong it could have gone????

I can deal with bags. In the past, if I've bought Heather a bag present, I've gone into Accessorize and chosen one that I wouldn't be seen dead with, safe in the knowledge that she'll love it. But coats? Different kettle of fish altogether.

'Throw me a line,' I text back, in keeping with the fish theme. 'Colour? Size? Length? Fuzzy? Smooth? Hood? Pockets?'

Now because I am her mum and I am alarmed to learn that she 'doesn't have a coat', especially in this weather, my instinct is saying 'Bright orange duffel coat. With hood. Warm and highly visible to protect her from the Norwich traffic and the wind blowing across the cabbage fields.' Ah yes, that's the ticket. A nice snuggly duffel coat, just like Paddington Bear, for my little girl. The text comes back 'Something black/grey NOT bright. Long enough to cover my bum. Rain mac, poss?'

Instinct shminstinct! We travel home coatless but I did manage to purchase half a present. I shan't say what it is because Heather reads this blog (have you played the chicken game yet? My highest score so far is 458!) and I don't want to spoil the surprise. But I think, young lady, you should know the trauma you caused me with your wild 'coat' suggestion.

On the way home we nipped into Sainsbugs to get chicken drumsticks because tomorrow it is TIGER DAY!!! Normally, I buy free-range chicken. I stare at the free-range drumsticks which come in packs with thighs. 'No thighs,' instructs Andy. 'I don't know why, but I've been told SPECIFICALLY NO THIGHS.' 'Probably because a drumstick has got a bit of a handle on it,' I suggest, sagely. 'Puts your fingers an extra 4 inches away from tiger teeth danger.'

So, do I pay a small fortune and buy 4 times as many packets of free-range drumsticks 'n' thighs(and remove the thighs. 'What have we got for dinner tonight, darling?' 'Chicken thighs, darling.' 'Not again, darling', followed by heavy sighs all round). Or do I buy the cheapy value brand, because it is highly unlikely after all, that a tiger is going to worry about the provenance of its raw meat. I look at the Freedom Food labelled stuff as a middle ground. After all, Hugh F-W says it's okay if you can't go all the hog with free-range. Hmmmmm....

Suffice it to say we leave Sainsbugs hanging our heads in shame but yeah, the tigers shall feast well tomorrow.

I go home to light a candle to the god of chickens to atone for my sins. And feed Slocombe, Poo, Miggins and Pumphrey some grapes and lettuce as penance.


Anonymous said...

i would like to say it is clearly not my fault that i am so unhelpful, my justification is that i am encouraging your creativity in present buying and hence your writing :) Also having just played the chicken game for the first time, my highest is 462, it is quite addictive and i see it is probably hindering your writing productivity!

look forward to seeing you on thursday

Anonymous said...

its heather by the not sure how to write on this without actually opening an account...hence forth i shall be named anonymous, i will change it by depoll soon x

Denise said...

Now there was enough kicking off in the family when I wanted to call you 'Marmalade' after you were born so don't think you're going to get away with renaming yourself 'Anonymous!'

And I am appalled that you are better at the chicken game than me...I'm still having problems getting them to lean over sufficiently to catch the big bonus star.