I was never meant to be a solo performer, apparently. In fact, I’m pretty much rubbish without my wingman, my other half, my grill-meister. The Captain to my Tenille. Ringmaster of my own personal circus.
Sunday dawned bright and sunny, warm with only a light breeze. It was one of those rare English summer days that film crews and cameramen everywhere dream of capturing. They lie in wait amidst the almost constant rain clouds, shivering in their Macs and sipping endless cups of tea. They anxiously await a break in the gloom, cameras at the ready. They stalk the sunny day with a dedication bordering on religious fervour.
Though it rains much the time, when the sun breaks through the clouds in England, all is forgiven.
Yes, my friends, a sunny English day is that rarest of all rare things. Sun shining on this island is a bit like that crazy flower that blooms only a few times in its 40-year lifespan – the amorphophallus titanum. You better be ready with your cameras when it happens, because if you blink, you will surely miss it and heaven knows when it will occur again. (Having said all that, the blooming of the amorphophallus titanum – Latin for “gigantic shapeless willy,” is well worth missing, or so I hear. Apart from the whole “gigantic willy” unattractiveness of it all, there is a reason it is called the “corpse flower.” P.U!)
But I digress.
Somehow, with all this waiting and the occasional payoff, cinematographers and photojournalists everywhere would have us believe that England, in the months between May and August, is a verdant paradise in which months pass in an endless parade of idyllic, golden days roofed in blue with the occasional fluffy white cloud. This is patently untrue. The period dramas have been lying about English summers for years. It’s all a ploy to get you to come visit, of course.
Don’t get me wrong – it really, truly is beautiful here and I wouldn’t live anywhere else. But, if you are visiting the UK in the summer months, beware: Summer clothes for those of us who live here will always include a raincoat and foldable brolly, possibly a sweater. You might want to invest in some woolly socks. Those flirty super short skirts and sleeveless sundresses you see in the shop window? The flipflops and barely there tee-shirts? Don’t even think of packing them for an English summer vacation. You will freeze to death. Even the natives, who are acclimated to the changeable and usually cool weather, don such garments with extreme rarity.
So, as it was a picture perfect Sunday, I decided in my vast wisdom to host a barbecue, very last minute, for friends from our congregation. Very, VERY last minute, which is the only way the English ever barbecue. To plan ahead is to guarantee rain. The only chink in my plan was that yesterday, after our meeting at the Kingdom Hall, Hubby was called into a meeting. 😦 Nevertheless, thinking he’d be about an hour or so, I invited our guests, dashed to the store (praying the weather would hold) and shopped for an army. I hurried home, stocked the drinks fridge in the garage and set about making side dishes, my famous BBQ beans and potato salad… set out the chairs, the fire pit…
Somewhere in this flurry, I also managed to post a video of me and my pet chicken. Mother Hen was a busy girl Sunday!
The weather held, but Hubster did not get released from whatever administrative snarl he was sorting until nearly 8 p.m.! By which time, this standup comic was a little at wits end trying to grill AND keep the natives happy. Well, they are really lovely natives, but still! Turning my back on conversation to turn the sausages is not my job. It is Hubby’s job.
We have done a lot of entertaining in our lives, it is true. But the gas grill is MAN TERRITORY. Now I know why. It is because he would rather cook than talk. Me, I’d rather turn cartwheels across the picnic tables and finish with an impromptu River Dance. In a crowd, my Inner Comedienne is desperate to unveil her latest shocking one-liners and to pull out the bowling pins for a quick juggle. She dances between guests and tops up glasses, divvies out plates and napkins, spends a little time with anybody who is awkwardly quiet and tries to pull them into the conversation… she sets up the sound system and Inner Whitney Houston harmonizes to Katy Perry before going all introspective and getting her John Mayer groove on (Inner Whitney LOVES John Mayer… she is seeing him in concert this week, in fact!)
All this, and I still managed to cook dozens of sausages, burgers, some ribeye steaks and a load of barbecued chicken. Without burning anything. I consider this to be a major accomplishment.
Still, I was missing my wingman, my other half. The rudder on my boat. We are a team, and even Inner Comedienne does not like manning the trapeze without a net.
When Hubby finally rolled in, he looked pale and exhausted. I pressed a Stella into his hand and plonked a gorgeous bit of rare steak onto his plate. My grill-meister was off duty and he didn’t have to talk if he didn’t want. I was just so glad he could finally join the party on this rarest of all rare days, a sunny day in England. Like all good and beautiful things in life, this was a moment worth the wait.
p.s. I was even too busy to take pictures. Now that IS rare!
Feature photo: Corpse flower, 3news.co.nz
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