Saturday, 5 October 2013

For Forks' Sake

Once upon a time, in the small village of Cutlery in the land of Canteen, there lived a set of Knives, Forks and Spoons. They were a big family - 42 altogether - and 44 if you counted the two maiden aunt serving spoons who appeared on high days and holidays and could more than hold their own in the lifting of three roast potatoes ALL at the SAME TIME! (I know, hard to believe, but believe it you will). 

In this family there were big knives and little knives, big forks and little forks, dessert spoons ( or, as the Lady of the Manor likes to call them 'pudding' spoons), soup spoons and teaspoons. And they all lived together, very happily, until that is, they ended up in the Estate of Much Malarkey Manor.

At first, all was well. The knives, forks and spoons, in their various sizes and guises, would count themselves out to the dinner table - one, two, three, four, five, six - and count themselves back in - one, two, three, four, five, six. Every one had a place, and to that place they belonged.

Until one Fatal Christmas. 

Now, the Lady of Much Malarkey Manor, let's call her Denise, liked to prepare for Christmas Dinner the night before Christmas as much as possible. This included not only 'prepping the veg' as she called it (because that is what it was), but also hoiking the Christmas crockery from the back of the cupboard where it hid all year round, and giving it a good buffing. And whilst she was about it, she liked to buff the cutlery as well.

'Out with the cutlery,' she said, this fateful festive season, 'out with the spoons - 6, the knives - 6, and the forks - 6...'

Except...horror of horrors...

...of forks there were only five!

Well! How could there be a missing fork? The Lady of the Manor was confused. Aside from the Dish and the Spoon in the Nursery Rhyme, she was pretty certain that forks could not run off because of their lack of leggage. Nor could they just vanish into thin air. Houdini forks were the stuff of myths.

The disappearance of the fork caused the Lady of the Manor much consternation because she liked things to be Just Right for Christmas, and having to present a festive table with mismatched cutlery caused her much distress. Some might say, 'Get a life, Lady of the Manor. It's only a fork,' to wit the Lady of the Manor might respond, 'You'll miss me when I am dead because it is DETAIL that counts, you mark my words.' 

Anyway, after Christmas, and some cutlery-related detachment  therapy, the Lady of the Manor hied herself to the land of Ikea, where she purchased a new set of matching stainless steel fighting irons, of which there were six apiece. Round numbers. All present and correct. And for a time, peace reigned in the land.

But there was something about the estate of Much Malarkey Manor. Something strange. No, not THAT! ( Good grief...). For the Lady of the Manor began to believe that the Manor was situated in the middle of the Kent equivalent of the Bermuda Triangle. Not because her yachts kept disappearing. Oh no! Because her cutlery kept vanishing.

Now, the Lady of the Manor knew it wasn't anything she was doing, because she had OCD (Obsessive Cutlery Disorder) and was given to counting her cutlery on a regular basis. That is how she knew bits kept disappearing. But where to? Surely not into the bin during some careless plate scraping? Or out into the flower beds during some careless chucking of the washing up water onto the garden during a drought in a effort to save water and be kind to the environment? Or, heaven forfend, vanishing forever under beds and sofas during cutlery forays into places other than the kitchen where food eating SHOULD take place but sometimes doesn't? 

All she knew was that at the last cutlery count (during a family dinner gathering this very week when matching cutlery ESPECIALLY matters) there were FORKS missing AGAIN!

And so the Lady of the Manor has resolved to purchase, in time for this approaching festive season, another set of cutlery. A set of cutlery in its own proper storage box. And that NO-ONE other than her good Ladyship self shall be allowed to open the aforesaid box and remove the cutlery. And that she herself shall oversee the return of the cutlery into its box, where each piece (count 'em) shall be nestled into its own defined space on mock velvet flock.  And then the whole caboodle will be secreted in a top-secret location known only to the Lady of the Manor so there shall be no random borrowing of a fork with which to eat cheesy coleslaw straight from the fridge. 

And whilst Certain Members of the Manor might find all this rather HILARIOUS, let them be warned that the sanity of the Changer of the Bin Liner, and the Changer of the Toilet Roll, and the Steamer of the Kitchen Floor, and the Recycler Binner of Things Left On the Kitchen Surfaces depends upon this purchase of Box of Cutlery. 

And that it shall be a purchase that SHE makes herself, and not a gift made to her on her impending birthday, because items of kitchen equipment are  no-no gifts for November birthday people, isn't that right Olly, my birthday twin?!

For the Lady of the Manor SHALL have a matching set of cutlery this Christmas, oh yes she shall. She shall deliver the Christmas Feast in Matching Accessory Triumph. 

And it shall thus be the same next year, and all ensuing years forever, yea verily it shall too.

And we shall all live happily ever after.


Countryside Tales said...

A mention of the C-word (Christmas, in case you were in any doubt) this early in the season should strictly speaking result in a Telling Off, except that I too have recently experienced the "Mysterious Disappearance Of Forks" and therefore I am wondering whether they have all buggered off together for a Fork Holiday, got lost and been unable to find their way home? Alternatively, it is your husband using them for Improper Fork Usage, such as bicycle maintenance in the garage, which is where mine have been discovered covered in oil and looking Very Sorry For Themselves Indeed. BTW, I have discovered tonight that reading your inestimable blog AFTER drinking a G&T is liable to result in not-inconsiderable snortage which can be heard throughout the entire house and cause members of said household to call out in a worried tone: "What has happened? Are you alright?" to which I have replied: "I am reading Denise's blog", and then they all subside knowing that All Is Well X

Denise said...

I am not sure quite how I feel about you having to imbibe of the gin before you are entertained by my blog, but I shall give you the benefit of the doubt and think on that alcohol merely enhances the experience rather than brings it to life in the first pace!

Your Andy + Fork theory is interesting, but he is more likely to use teaspoons for purposes other than eating grapefruit and/ or creme brûlée. I try to allocate non- matching teaspoons for his purposes (gardening, DIY, administering potions to animals, scooping unmentionables out of sour dough starters etc) but he rejects these in favour of a member of the matching set teaspoons. Luckily, I do not take sugar in tea and I have my own special teaspoon for yogurting purposes, so I never have to worry I am using something that has been somewhere disgusting a single wash up ago!

Denise said...

P.S Apologies for mention of the 'C' word, but it is going to take me at least 2 months to track down a canteen of cutlery that will meet with my exacting standards. Of course, if CERTAIN people were more careful with the forks, this wouldn't be an issue, Christmas or otherwise.

Countryside Tales said...

I always giggle when reading your posts - it was the volume of the snorting that rose with the consumption of the gin x

Olly said...

Of course, I completely agree that cutlery is not suitable as a birthday present.

Last time I found a stray fork it was in the compost heap. I'm missing a spoon though and I don't know how as I live on my own. I think it's with the odd socks having a party somewhere.

Denise said...

Hi Olly! I have found a stray fork in the greenhouse but it did not match any of the others in the kitchen. No idea where THAT came from. I have accumulated various 'odd' spoons over the years. Do you think there is a foreign spoon exchange programme in operation?

Eileen said...

In my house it is the spoons that the mysterious trip to where??? No idea, though when we moved last time we did find several hiding about the house in odd spots.
They weren't able to get outdoors though so suspect they are not with your forks.
I think the thought of a ocean crossing would be a bit much for them.
Enjoy your shopping!

sadie said...

I too have suffered a surfeit of snorting in the reading of your post for which I and the makers of Kleenex thank you.

In our house I find that some "downsizing" of forks takes place, with all manner of corporate giveaways and unmatched (and occasionally exotic(BOAC circa what? they've been gone for years) finding comfort in our cutlery drawer after a visit home by the Students ,whilst our home grown once matching cutlery develops an urge to go on a gap year and visit horizons new.....

Denise said...

Eileen, Sadie, I am most comforted that I am not alone in the strange disappearance of cutlery! Until now I had been considering drilling holes in all remaining pieces, attaching them each to a piece of string and hanging them from the ceiling, then doing a before bedtime cutlery patrol and not allowing ANYONE in the house any peace until all strings were attached to a knife, fork or spoon.

Now I see that this would be a slightly OTT reaction so I shall desist.

Sadie - thank you for the snorts! Should I buy shares in Kleenex, or charge them for my snort-making services??