I have just read your article in the 'Evening Post'
and if I can help you in any way, I will be happy to do so. If
I can be of any assistance with your studies I will be pleased to do so and
of course provide you with a Sunday Roast.
My name is Colin Bevan, aged 67; I am retired and live on a council estate in Penlan, although I now own my house. My partner is Carole, aged 62 who is also retired and the third member of the household is my nephew Jack, who is 11 years old.
The Sunday roast dinner has always been a feature of our family life and it is something we all look forward to. This traditional Sunday meal enables us to share and discuss the activities of the past week and if you so desire, you are welcome to share a Sunday roast dinner with us. It is always an enjoyable experience when friends share a meal with us.
Wishes for your studies. Colin
(please scroll down to read the shortstory)
Sunday school just began when I arrive at his home in Penlan, Swansea. Carole
sits in the living room and reads the newspaper. “I am not allowed to
help anyway!” she says and whips the next side of her newspaper. Carole
is 62 years old and born in America, Wisconsin. Some decades ago she has visited
her family on the mother’s side in England and didn’t go back
to the States. After her children were grown up, she moved again to Wisconsin,
however, she already came back after one month.
Colin and Carole appear to me like an ‘old’ married couple, nevertheless they got to know each other 18 months ago on an internet-website and then “everything went quite fast” and Carole moved to Colin.
He has already marinated the lamb joint in honey and fresh rosemary from the garden, the evening before. Packed in a roast foil, Colin puts the lamb now in the oven.Whilst he is preparing the vegetables he tells me about Jack – no, not Jack, the parrot – I will tell later about him. Jack is Colin’s nephew, he is eleven years old, two years ago his mother died and since this time Colin looks after him. “He is a good boy,” he says and is looking trough the kitchen window in the garden: “Do you see the rose bushes over there? Under one lays his mother. I will put a bench up when it gets warmer.”
Colin falls silent for a moment and goes to the dining room. A cuckoo clock is hanging at the wall. He winds the clock up and says: “The clock reminds me of my mother”. His mother died one year ago, she wanted that Colin brings half of her ash to Germany, on a British soldier’s cemetery, to her first husband. As a memory Colin has brought a cuckoo clock from Germany. Many memories and small presents hang and stand in the dining room, especially from Germany, because Colin maintains for many years a friendship to a German. “Achim visited Swansea in 1967 on an exchange visit under the Swansea-Mannheim friendship link, stayed with my parents, developed a very close bond with them and we have been very close friends ever since. He has made over 80 visits to Swansea since those early days and has many friends here.” Colin is very nervous, usually nobody is allowed in the kitchen when he cooks. “Jack loves his vegetables, because of him there is always a little bit more,” and cleans undauntedly the vegetables.
I haven’t noticed that Carole picked up Jack from Sunday school, because suddenly the boy stands in the kitchen. With big shy eyes, like a roe deer, he looks at me. Shyly he says ‘Hi’ to me and disappears in the living room.
I follow Colin in the garden; he brings the rubbish on the compost and shows me the rose bushes and his garden herbs. “We just have painted the house, now I have to tidy the garden in spring,” he mumbles and we go back in. In the meantime Jack has made himself comfortable in the living room and is playing with Carole ‘Operation’, a play what I will get to know later.
Colin chunters: “Oh shit the oven has gone off. Ordinarily, I take the smaller one, but the roast was bigger than usual.” Colin becomes even more nervous, the vegetables are ready and now the roast needs another at least half an hour. “Normally we have lunch at one o’clock, it will be tardy now!” he says and pushes the roasted potatoes and parsnips in the smaller oven to keep them warm. Jack comes to the kitchen and asks how long Colin still needs and whether he may play in the meantime with the PlayStation. “Yes, but only half an hour,” says Colin and the boy already sits before the television in the dining room. However, he is not playing for a long time, probably driven of hunger; he rather helps Colin to lay the table. Suddenly he roars “Oh Colin, I am sorry, it just spilt over!” – “Oh Jack what have you done?” shouted Colin and looks into the dining room. From the living room a voice is shouting: “Naughty boy, naughty boy!” – The parrot Jack who lives in the sitting room also felt immediately appealed. Carole comes and everybody is looking at the mess: Jack has tipped the mint sauce over the table. Over and over again he looks at Colin and says: “I am sorry, Colin, I am sorry.” “Simply put the fruit plate above the mess,” I suggest with a smile and Jack starts slowly to smile again. Colin goes back into the kitchen and tries to save the burnt parsnips. Carole and Jack bring the last plates with vegetables on the table and sit down, while Colin carves the meat.
From the kitchen we hear it clanging. “He is always so nervous when we have guests,” she announces, the both smile at each other and begin to serve the food. As last, Colin brings the sauce and sits down exhausted. During only a few minutes we scoff everything: The Roast lamb, Yorkshire pudding, roast potatoes, mashed potatoes, carrots, pees, green beans, broccoli, cabbage, asparagus and Brussels sprouts. The Lamb is tender and tastes thus nice with mint sauce. We say “Well done, Colin!” over and over again and finish everything.
Colin leans back contentedly in his chair, crosses the arms before his belly and is obviously proud with the outcome of his cooking. We talk about the tradition of the Sunday lunch and Jack explains how important it is for him to sit together on Sunday to have lunch. Just one year ago Colin’s mother sat also at the table, she also lived in the house and Colin took care of her. Carole tells that she had always a traditional Sunday lunch in America and that her grandma, who lived next door, came around every Sunday for lunch. In the oven waits already the dessert: a cherry strudel. I could see that Jack is looking forward to the strudel of course with the addition of vanilla icecream which rounds off this Sunday lunch to a perfect whole.
Actually, Jack must always take over the wash-off of the dishes, however, after he asks whether I would like to play with him ‘Operation’, Carole says that she takes over the washing-off. Everybody brings something in the kitchen which looks like a battlefield. Carole is letting hot water in when she sees that I want to steal myself outside to smoke a cigarette. “I come with you!” she says and forgets about the dirty dishes. Colin mumbles: “Then I have to do it.” Colin is almost finished when we come back into the kitchen. She helps him to dry up and I go with Jack into the living room to play board games. It does not last long, Carole and Colin also come, sit down on the couch and watch TV.
A lovely Sunday ends, meanwhile, it is after four o’clock and I sit on the carpet in the living room, play ‘Operation’ with Jack and the parrot Jack is sitting on my shoulder.