MAN’S WORLD: Like dad, like daughter

Home early from work.

Time to take the dog for a walk on the Greek coastline. Or as good as. This is alright isn’t it? I could get used to this weather…

I put my shorts on (yes, those shorts) and march confidently into the kitchen for the dog’s lead.

And stop short.

Every available surface is covered with plates. And mugs. And bowls. And glasses. And the glasses are stuffed with chocolate wrappers. And banana skins. And the stones from the half-dozen plums Ben has eaten.

The dishwasher is full. Obviously. There are dirty pans all over the cooker. And my wife is due home from a long and arduous meeting that guarantees her first word to me will be ‘gin.’

It goes without saying that there’s nothing for tea.

I issue a formal apology to a crestfallen Springer Spaniel and set to work. Half an hour later I’m done. And slightly cross.

Never mind, my beloved has phoned to say she’ll be home soon. We seem to have run out of gin but a bottle of Pinot Grigio should stave off the divorce. Assuming I’ve cooked the dinner, that is…

That tuna thing we had the other day, I think. With courgettes, crème fraiche and pasta. Remarkably easy: so easy that I can devote myself to a glass of wine while I’m cooking.

“What are you cooking, dad?” Ah, my beloved daughter, looking delightfully sun-kissed this afternoon.

“Tuna with courgettes and pasta. The one I did the other day. You remember.”

“No, I don’t. And I don’t eat fish, dad. How many times?”

Fiddlesticks. About a hundred times sadly. And then I probably still won’t remember.

“OK then. I’ll do bacon and blue cheese with pasta. How’s that?”

“I don’t like blue cheese.”

That’s when something snaps. “Well then nothing. I’ve cleaned the damn kitchen. I’m not going to the damn shop to buy yet another damn quiche which tastes of nothing at all.”

But she’s not listening. She’s gone. I find I’m speaking to my youngest son instead. “What’s for dinner, dad?”

“As far as I can tell, nothing. Your sister doesn’t like anything.”

“But I’ve eaten all the fruit, dad…”

“I can see that. Quiche for your sister, I suppose, if I can find one in the freezer. Bacon and blue cheese with pasta for us.” And another glass of wine to calm me down.

Jessica eats one solitary slice of quiche. “This bacon and blue cheese just doesn’t work,” Ben says. My wife isn’t impressed either. I think it’s OK but what does that matter? Another recipe bites the dust.

“Right, I need to talk to you two teenagers,” I say, as a bumper bowl of leftovers amply compensates the dog for missing her walk.

“I come home ready to take the dog out. Instead I’ve had to tidy the kitchen, empty the dishwasher, cook the dinner.

“You’re both on holiday. I completely fail to see why you can’t do some of that.”

Like father... Something snaps in my daughter.

“That’s not bubbles fair. It’s not our fault you’ve had a crappy day because your bubbles cheese sandwich wasn’t up to standard or the paper jammed in your bubbles printer or whatever. Don’t come home and take it out on us. Frankly, Dad, you can just bubbles off.”

And with that she’s gone.

“Serves you right,” my wife says.

“What? We should be washing her mouth out with soap and water.”

“She’s always emptying the dishwasher. You’re just wrong.”

“She is, dad…”

My wife and my son giving evidence against me. What chance does a man have…