Every room in the house is in disorder, with dirty plates in kitchen and sitting-room, dirty clothes strewn on the bedroom floor, vegetable peelings, grease and gram-flour batter crusted on the stove and kitchen counters and (as crowning glories) generous helpings of catsick and hairball on the kitchen carpet. Part of this is due to the home economics lessons the kiddos underwent last night, including training in the arcane of making cous-cous salad and pakora from scratch. Both are still interested in the home chemistry of cooking and enjoy processing real food like fresh veg, but like their mother have a selective deficit for clearing up. It should be different. I worked for a year as a school cleaner and a house cleaner (for my mum) in my teens, which might have given me skills and pride in my work, but was threatened with the sack for poor performance in both posts. A word to the wise- carpet is the worst possible floor surface for a kitchen, especially if you have a long-haired cat who targets carpet for her puke-fests.
Still, it was a happy weekend. I got some time alone with each of them, which is always a treat. On Saturday I persuaded the big wan to accompany me shopping in Southside, and I feel only pride when walking up the street arm in arm with my fine laddie. We bought gram flour and chillis from Bismillah
Asian foodstore, causing me to sing 'Bohemian Rhapsody' embarrassingly in public. Big wan had intended to leave me on South Bridge to hang out with the disreputable youth on Cockburn St, but instead developed one of his Casualty
-style spontaneous nosebleeds when he appears to exsanguinate through the nostril. It's a great party trick and a possible entrepreneurial niche for a black-pudding brand, but sadly not under his conscious control. Tissues were called for and a sit-down, a bacon roll and a mug of tea in the Babylon
greasy-spoon. Any of our regular trips to Babylon have to be accompanied by singing 'Burning in Babylon' in public; he puts up with a lot. I left him heading again for goth-central while I hit Lidl, but he felt bad about leaving me with heavy shopping and turned back to help me home with the bags.
On Sunday it was wee wan's turn to accompany me and R. to see the Goya etchings and the Turner watercolours at the galleries on the Mound on a girls' afternoon out. You have to admire the technical skills of both artists, though wee wan says she prefers modern art. By chance, we come across the video installation 'my son, my father' by our mutual friend Catriona Grant, a current artist in residence. R. spoils wee wan terribly with hot chocolate and some pop-art plasters shaped like kissing lips. Over coffee, R. and I are talking tattoos and piercing, impressing on wee wan the transitory nature of fashion. R. doesn't even have her ears pierced, and she's not even Jewish (though we sometimes wonder).
It's been a good week for remembered dreams. The first was about the Smiley Bros, the staff of my Asian corner shop. In real life, there is Older Smiley who is meticulously courteous and well-mannered, and Younger Smiley who has to his credit a magnificent moustache and a charming 5 yr old daughter. I dreamt that they were throwing a 20 year anniversary party for the shop and all the regulars were invited. Younger Smiley's wife showed me a calligraphic, illuminated Q'uran, reading aloud and translating the Arabic, with me silently admiring that neither the Q'uranic script nor her English translations were in her first language.
In another recent dream I was challenged to a friendly vegetable identification quiz in the Chinese veg shop. I mistook a persimmon for a Sharon fruit but was correct on identifying celery leaf. In real life, I was most amused when the new Saturday staff, a young Chinese man (maybe the younger brother of the proprietrix) was playing cards for 20p bets with a similar friend while I picked out my veg. The cards were being slapped on the counter, and each win and loss punctuated with Chinese comment.