Yorkshire pudding: can it ever be too stodgy? Part attention-grabbing headline, part genuine question. Personally, I think the empty-golden-shell style is a massive disappointment. What’s the point? Give me the doorstep, 1000-calorie square that takes two hands just to hold the plate every time. Talk about comfort food; this is comfort on a new level. It wraps the duvet round you, brings you cocoa, and sings you a lullaby.
Lucy is best at Yorkshire pudding, but Mr Young jogs a close second. Of course, we have it with organic sausages these days, and I have to put up with kale. He loves kale, but I have yet to fully embrace as it as a side dish because – although tasty with lemon juice, olive oil and garlic – it is a challenge to chew and it does love hiding in the gaps between my teeth, ready to spring out and ruin a perfectly good smile.
Tonight is a Yorkshire pudding night, with onion gravy, and we even have some mashed potato as well. And no kale. We have it on our laps (on plates, obviously), while curled up on the sofa in front of the television, with our blankies, watching series three of The Tunnel.
So much comfort it’s a wonder we even bother going to bed afterwards.
Harry, Lucy and me go to Ikea; I need a new wok and some batteries, Lucy wants some shelves and Harry is buying a bookcase. I end up spending five times as much as I planned to, including buying a new toy for Ruby, the pet dog me and Mr Young swore we would never treat like a small child.
It’s a little hedgehog clutching, bizarrely, a strawberry. Ruby loves it, and immediately runs off to hide it somewhere in the spare room, which she does with all the things she cherishes. It’s got a squeaker, so it’s a bit of a give-away when she later moves it from room to room; like a small child playing hide and seek, shouting out “I’m here! Under the bed! But you'll never find me!”.
One of my New Year resolutions was just to improve myself, which has proved to be a bit vague; it’s been difficult to know in which area I can do this. Not because I don’t need improving, but because there are just so many, I don’t know where to start. I am trying to floss regularly, and apply hand-cream every night, and I will be sorting out my sock drawer tomorrow. I feel that’s enough for this week. I don’t want to aim too high.
I make the mistake of mentioning this to my sister Rachel, who suggests spring cleaning the house.
She gets very animated.
“You could clear out all the cupboards, really do a room from top to bottom. Just think of all the satisfaction!”
I nod my head, and try my hardest to think of the satisfaction, but it doesn’t seem to flashing in bright lights as much in my head as it obviously is in hers. I think she inherited my share of cleanliness genes as well as her own.
To keep her happy, I sort out the cupboard where I keep my cleaning supplies, and throw out some dusters with holes in, and notice that my can of Mr Sheen is nearly empty, so I buy some more Mr Sheen and some new dusters.
I know it’s setting the bar pretty low, but it’s a start.
Next week, I’m going to see if the hoover bag’s full yet.
I know yoga is supposed to be relaxing, but it’s hard to concentrate on unwinding when you’re doing the downward dog while a small upward dog is staring up at you with a worried expression.
Also, to my cost, I have learned that a yoga mat is essential. At least, it is if you want to achieve a warrior pose that is properly warrior-like. Otherwise, you slide very slowly backwards until you topple sideways onto the small upward dog, who disappears behind the dressing table with a startled bark.
So I am waiting for Amazon to bring me a suitably adhesive mat so that I can perform some impressive moves without falling over and get myself into a wonderfully focussed whilst relaxed frame of mind.
In the meantime, I have gone to the other extreme and have been joining in with someone called Shaun T and his Cize cardio-dance programme. Shaun T (who so fit, he doesn’t even have time for a proper surname) is better known for something called Insanity – the clue is in the title – and Cize is cleverly so-called because it’s the latter half of exercize. Well, of course it’s not, unless you’re American, because they can’t spell so it’s got a zed instead of an ess. Or a zee, as I think they call it. Poor old Americans. They’ve got a lot of catching up to do.
Shaun T and his ‘crew’ go through lots of dance moves one by one; you can tell they’re all dancers, instead of just normal exercisers, because they wear their sweatshirts tied round their waists and baseball caps turned backwards. There’s a lot of clapping involved, and instructions to “Work it!”. Ruby is terrified, and I can tell she would much rather I just went back to the downward dog, so she’s relieved when the Amazon man turns up with my yoga mat.
So am I, because I don’t think I’m Working It properly; my clapping is all out of time, and I'm never in the same position as Shaun and his crew at the end of a sequence. Maybe it’s because I’m not wearing my baseball cap backwards. Maybe it’s because I don’t spell exercise properly.
Maybe it’s because I’m just too Britishly snide.
As Mr Young loves a gadget, Alexa lives in our kitchen. She hates me like a spiteful ex-girlfriend, but only demonstrates this when Mr Young is out of the room. The minute his back is turned, she switches herself off, or puts on a silly gurgly voice just at a crucial point in the Archers, or during Desert Island Discs, or halfway through a particularly important headline in the news. If she knows I like a song - because I’m singing along - she’ll say something like, “I’m sorry, I don’t understand” in a really smug voice, and then go quiet for about three minutes, before turning herself back on.
When I tell Mr Young about this, he gives me one of his slightly sceptical looks, because, of course, she always behaves perfectly when she is around.
She’s such a creep.
I’m guiltily thinking about replacing my car. I feel bad, because I do love it – we’ve been together through many difficult times and she bears the scars. Literally. Annoyingly, they’ve all come about because of passive accidents. Oh, all right, parking mishaps. There’s a tricky bollard at Waitrose, and an irritating wooden planter at the Co-Op, and a high kerb at the end of our road. My brother-in-law Joe is a car dealer*, and he’s (oh, so foolishly) offered to find me a replacement… I need something just a little bit bigger now that I’m to be a grandmother soon. (I know! Incredible! I don't look a day over blah blah blah...)
Why I think I need a bigger car, I don’t know, as you couldn’t get anything tinier than a newborn baby, but I have a panicky need for something along the lines of a double-decker bus in order to house this precious new cargo. (And that's if Harry ever trusts me to drive her brand-new human about in the world, given my poor track record with inanimate objects.)
Obviously my Fiat 500 is not going to do the job, as its little boot can only just fit in a nine-pack of toilet rolls, and even then I have to sit on the trunk firmly to make sure it's shut.
So me and Mr Young have taken to patrolling the streets when we walk Ruby, looking at other cars, to see what might be suitable.
For some reason, he always calls me mate when we talk about cars. We are clearly on a man-to-man footing, which is laughable as I know nothing about cars.
“What about that one, mate?” he suggests.
“No, too slopey,” I say. “I like that one, that high-up, white one.”
“That’s a Range Rover. That’s far too big, mate. You can’t even park your Fiat, so you’d never manage that one. And it’s way too expensive. What about that one?”
“No…it’s too..silver.” We walk on for a while. “That one? I like that colour? And it’s a nice shape?”
“You can’t just choose a car because of its colour.” Men don’t understand that colour is crucial.
“Ah," I say, as we near home. "That's the one.” It’s perfect. Right colour and everything.
“That’s yours.” he snaps. I notice that he's stopped calling me mate.
* www.joedesira.co.uk (I'm not on commission...yet)