I am penning this on Shrove Tuesday – Pancake Night. I am full as a ‘pinkeen’ of heavily drizzled (I hope that ‘drizzled’ is a correct word – but I learned it from a man in an apron on TV) with butter, lemon and sugar. The drizzle ran freely from both corners of my mouth and it’s lucky the editor doesn’t inspect my notebook. Yes, I know there are more important pieces of information on the next page – but please bear with me, because there is a story here.
I came perilously close to getting no pancakes tonight. Mrs Youcantbeserious is a great cook, and I am very well fed – but she stamped her size 5’s on the tiles this evening and insisted there would be no pancakes. “You got them last Tuesday.” “That doesn’t count – because today is Pancake Tuesday,” I wailed. I barely won by a short head in the finish. You see, there has been an issue in Casa Comaskey since mass time last Sunday morning.
Father Monks concluded the livestreaming mass by stating he had a few announcements. One of these announcements caused Comaskey consternation. ‘And don’t forget that next Wednesday is Ash Wednesday’, the priest said. “He has lost it”, whispered my beloved; her concern for the over-worked clergyman affecting the tone of her voice. “He’s reading last week’s notes …. Last Wednesday was Ash Wednesday.” In fairness to myself, I left it between the two of them, because I wouldn’t have a clue. I don’t need to know: I only need to know a woman or a priest who knows.
Turns out it wasn’t Father Monks who had lost it … but my dear wife! We had entered Lent a week too soon. I had had my feast of pancakes a week to the day before Pancake Night. The question now was could I put two of them back to back?
Sunday now became a ‘needly’ sort of day: What with us getting both Ash Wednesday and the rugby wrong. You might think this is where the scḗal lies for now: not so – in fact there were further complications.
Mrs Youcantbeserious takes the season of Lent rather seriously. As for me … well, I have given up all that I am going to give up. We were now in the unusual predicament of my dear wife having given up alcohol, chocolate, crisps and cake, in order to atone for her sins and the sins of others. (Anonymity of other sinners is part of the deal) My restraining order is that I try not to eat the goodies in front of her during Lent.
The dilemma facing herself now, is that she had hit the front too soon and already had four days of self-denial behind her. I did suggest that she would have her Lenten duty completed a week before everyone else. This did not wash, as it would have entailed partying on Good Friday. I volunteered that if it came to it, I wouldn’t complain about having a second Wednesday of eggs … or as I used say to my mother, ‘we often had a lot less.’ Best plan for me was just to say no more and wait and see what happens.
Half time in the rugby match and things are not going well with the French. I make a mug of tea for my darling and I start ‘lorrying’ into my second gallon of coffee. In she comes and sits down beside me on the settee. It is then I notice the little green cardboard box which she places between us on the seat. It says ‘Lindt Lindor Mint’ on the front of the box. I need to tell you that on account of my sweet tooth, chocolates have to be hidden around here – and released as sparingly as a Covid vaccine. We dig into the box; ‘one for you – one for me’ … but I did manage to ‘turn over’ a couple during the match.
Sunday night we are watching a movie on TV. “Would you like a drink?” I ask. “Ah, I don’t know.” (That’s a yes in woman talk). I open a bottle of wine and pour her a glass. “You’ll need to finish that bottle before Wednesday”, I advised.
So, as I explained at the outset. Here we are on Pancake night, full to the gills. There is a glass of wine still left in the bottle, which I shall now offer to herself. There are no chocolates left … that I know of! But you’d never know what might happen after the glass of wine …
Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday – and I don’t know what that will bring. But I do know that it isn’t every year that a man has two Pancake Tuesdays! (Drizzled!!!)
God often tries us with a little, to see what we would do with a lot.