January, the most wonderful time of the year. You can see your family without shopping, wrapping presents or overeating, every day has a few minutes more daylight, snowdrops push through the ground and everyone’s happily back to their usual moaning selves. Backs, necks, that cold and cough thing which is probably a Covid variation, sinuses, bowels, on they chunter…
“What else is happening this month?” I ask Youngest, pretending I’ve forgotten the night and day I spent pushing her out, her birth day, much of it spent embracing the Penny Falls machine in Portobello amusements arcade after being turned away at the hospital.
“Come back when you’re 10cms dilated,” they said and I was damned if I was going home - I know when I’m in labour, and a pelvis-wrenching contraction when I’m having one, but I couldn’t speak, only moan, and much too loudly for the general waiting area - so Porty it was and a promenade but the wind off the sea was Baltic and the arcade had the right level of noise to drown me out. There the Penny Falls machine sloped at just the right angle for me to splat across the glass like a tideblown Sponge Bob’s Patrick Star as each wave of pain washed over me.
Now Youngest and I both have a soft spot for Porty, in fact being blessed with dyslexia she tells people she was conceived in the amusement arcade. Contraction, conception, I don’t correct her. Should have called her Penny.
Oh yes, Burns’ Night,” I say. “Shall we have haggis?”
“No. How about just neeps and tatties?”
“Wash your mouth out with haggis, call yourself Scottish? We’ll have veggie haggis ‘cos I like it, and neeps and tatties, so anyone picky can just have that.”
“Hmmm. What else is this month?
“My birthday!! Whoop, whoop!” she says.
“We could go to that free place Eldest suggested,” she says, like a true Capricorn, born in the poorest month.
“Er free for the birthday person, but yes, check out the website.”
“Oh, it looks soooo nice. It’s next to that up-itself place you took me at Christmas cos you had a gift card but in fact the cocktail wasn’t very nice.”
“Pearls before swine. They have lovely original toilets.”
“This menu looks good,” she says. “Baby ganoush - you like that. What? What?”
“Nothing. I do love baby ganoush.”
*Disclaimer – Youngest Child has approved this column, as always.