I realise they should be wearing flourescent jackets, flame proof overalls, safety goggles, bone domes and chain mail gloves...
Keeping my extended family busy does require a little ingenuity so right now they are all making chicken and mushroom pies.
Dead easy. I just throw out a couple of cutting boards, give the kids some very sharp knives and various piles of things to chop. Onions, garlic, sweet peppers, mushrooms and a pre boiled chicken from which they must strip the flesh. Each ingredient, minus severed finger tips, must go into individual bowls prior to assembling the dish and everything else must be washed, wiped, cleaned or bound with bandages as necessary.
Fry the ingredients off, add a tablespoonful of flour and then the stock from the boiling of the chicken before spooning the mixture into ramekins. Then the fun really starts. Roll out the pastry, cut the lids and naturally, I want every dish to have a design personal to the family member to whom it is destined, only then into the oven. Keeps 'em busy for hours!
Anyway, from left to right in the photo: Dominic (11), Christina (13) and Ju (10) Not in the photo are Alex (2), Mauro (7) and of course Marcia (29). I (51) am behind the camera lens.
Mauro was a bit of a hard case to crack when he arrived. He would only eat a tiny portion of boiled rice. The kid was so skinny he had to run around in the shower to get wet and, as a precautionary measure, I would put the plug in the bath in case I lost him down the drain. A year after his arrival at Fort Gowans he is now making his own pies and has just scoffed a whole one.
Ju was the little girl who lost her Mum and arrived a very traumatised little kid scared out of her wits. Now I think she is Marcia's Second-in-Command, bossy little minx!
Christina is calm and sensible beyond her years and I am not sure how I would cope without her. The neighbours think I have a capacity to mete out real violence if provoked, an impression I do little to dilute now that an unhealthy interest in her has been aroused in the local lads.
Alexander loves the girls who in turn dote on him, and fights constantly with Mauro so I guess it is situation normal.
Dominic is sitting next to me as I write having swiped Marcia's pie, his second, which he is chucking down his neck as fast as he can choke it down. He felt guilty about nicking her dinner but since she wasn't that hungry and, as I pointed out, we have plenty of puff pastry left so can make her another tomorrow, he is going for it. Nice to see the boy eat so well. If you can interest children in preparing and cooking food, they will invariably devour the fruit of their own labour without the dissent normally associated with half a dozen highly individual and picky eaters.
One of the last of Dominic's baby teeth, a molar, has just fallen out. He decided it should be sterilised so dropped it into my whisky glass. He loves his little tricks. He is fond of doctoring my cigarettes with match heads tightly wrapped in tin foil so that they explode when I smoke them.
Having complained that the hole in his gum once housing the tooth now soaking in my whisky was hurting like hell, I suggested he rubbed neat salt into it.
Vengeance is sweet.