Good morning dear reader and welcome to a beautifully sunny Sunday at Chez Comb. What a difference in temperature a week can make. Talk about famine or feast. A couple of weeks ago we were enduring freezing temperatures and now we are bathed in glorious sunshine. I am not complaining, it is a most welcome change in our meteorological fortunes.
It's just as well it has been warm and sunny of late. I have been doing a lot of lurking in my garden shed to keep out of Spouse's way. I think he thinks I am trying to kill him. I hasten to assure you, dear reader, that I am most certainly not, just as I am equally certain he could have cheerfully killed me a few days ago. The cause of our marital disharmony? The humble chilli.
I have mentioned in the past, dear reader, that I endeavour to be a bit of a domestic goddess on the culinary front. I enjoy cooking and Spouse enjoys devouring the fruits of my labours. I know, in these enlightened times you might like to hear that Spouse takes his turn in producing a culinary masterpiece for my delectation, but in that case, dear reader, you are destined to be sadly disappointed. Spouse in the kitchen is akin to a bull in a china shop. It is not a deliberate ploy on his part to get out of these duties, he is just an extremely untidy and disorganised chef and whilst he has on occasion produced a masterpiece of cuisine, it involves using every pot and pan in the place with the end result being a kitchen looking like the proverbial bomb has dropped in it. We now have an agreement that he keeps out of my kitchen and I keep out of his shed. Thus marital harmony prevails.
But, unfortunately, not this week. The recent spell of freezing weather put me in the mood for curry. I finally got around to it just as the temperatures began to rise. Never mind, when curry has been thought of it has to be cooked. And so I did, entirely confident in my domestic abilities, as I have created my own recipes - one suited to Spouse's taste and one to mine own. Spouse likes a mild curry, so easy on the chilli and spice blend. I like a good hot one, so a different blend altogether and heavier on the chillies. The trouble occurs when both are cooked up and resting in their tomato based sauces and then they look very similar.
Why, oh why, dear reader, did I use identical saucepans? I know, how ever did I think I would tell them apart, unless by taste? But, over confident numpty that I am, I was quite sure that I knew one from another. And of course, dear reader, I did not.
When I wrote the first book in the Café Paradise trilogy, I included a scene where a man and a woman go out on a first date to an Indian restaurant. He knew very little about Indian cuisine, but pretended that he did and when the lady mischeviously chose a Bangalore Phall he airily went along with her choice. 'Bring it on ... Manfood,' etc. A Bangalore Phall is hotter than the classic Vindaloo and when the poor man took his first mouthful he nearly had apoplexy. Red-faced and perspiring, he poured his glass of beer over his head to cool down. They got thrown out of the restaurant by the way, especially after he accused her of trying to kill him.
When I wrote this scene I wondered if I had pushed things a bit too far, but actually, dear reader, I now know I could have pushed them a lot further. Yes I did get the pans mixed up and Spouse got my hot hot curry. He was extremely hungry after a day spent hauling wood home for our fire. He had discovered a treasure trove of wood in the village and the lady owner was delighted that he would take it away. So, on this particular evening there was to be no messing about. Dinner would be now you see it and now you don't.
Only not quite. Spouse dived in with great gusto and a few forkfuls rapidly disappeared down the hatch, at speed and then ... the full force of those chillies kicked in. Spouse leapt up from the table, scarlet-faced and perspiring just like my character in Café Paradise. He tried to speak but couldn't, eyes bulging and mouth moving soundlessly like a newly-landed fish. He rushed out to the kitchen and was next seen dousing his head under the kitchen tap.
I winced when I saw him emerge dripping from the sink and it dawned on me what had happened. 'I think you got mine,' says I. 'They got mixed up.' 'Oh, did I?' says he. 'Oh, they got mixed up, did they? Really?' He turned to look at the saucepans on the stove and his eyebrows rose almost into his hairline. 'Silly me, of course they got mixed up. They're in identical pans. I don't suppose it occured to you to use different ones and then you might be able to easily identify which dish was which, instead of half killing me with yours. Dear reader, that was only the half of it and I will draw a veil over his comments regarding my lack of grey matter. He is convinced I am intent on doing away with him. Why, I can't imagine. I don't generally display homicidal tendencies.
I know one thing, curry might be off the menu for some time to come. I am still in the doghouse and all food presented to Spouse is carefully examined. I just hope the weather doesn't take a turn for the worse as this domestic goddess doesn't fancy skulking down the garden for much longer.
Have a good week, dear reader and I hope that when we meet again marital harmony has been restored at Comb Towers. In the meantime, is that one chilli or two?
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