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26th July: ‘Ikea’ Meatballs

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Picture the scene. Four grown women in their thirties. Respectable. Mothers to nine children between them. They’re in a quaint Cheshire pub drinking new world white wine (designated driver slurps diet coke). They appear to be talking about an Aquarium. In Rhyll.

One of them starts to cry. The others look slightly alarmed. But slowly, their eyes become misty too. She finally gets to the point of her tale. Her voice is high and she’s trying not to sob.

What the hell happened at the aquarium in Rhyll I hear you ask? And why is that drunken blonde woman weeping about it?

Expect more of this sort of thing over the next few months. Me and my ‘mummy’ friends are finding the whole school thing a bit much at the mo. Me, I swing from thinking ‘roll on September!!’ to wanting to snuggle The Big One to my breast and never let him go. Mostly, I want Doc Emmet Brown to swing by with his Delorean and take me back to 2007 so that I can start from scratch. Knowing, second time round, how quickly it goes, how fleeting and precious the preschool years are. When you are their everything, and all they could ever need is you.

Last night we were talking about just that. Hence the weepy atmosphere.

About how lucky we were to have had each other for support, wine and friendship. And about how lucky our kids are to have such a sweet gang of mates who have become like cousins to one another.

We talked about what brilliant little people they’d all turned into.

Talk turned to the preschool trip to the aquarium. I started to tell my tale.

The Big One was in the gift shop. He was allowed to choose a little toy as a treat. One of his best friends was on the trip too. Her mum and dad were both at work so she was with the preschool ladies. “Maybe she doesn’t have any pennies” he said. “I’d like to buy her something please, and something for her little sister too”. And he did.

My beautiful, kind, thoughtful little boy. There are moments I’m sure he’ll achieve brilliant exam results. Or star in a play. Or score a winning goal. And I’m sure I’ll be proud. But I’ll find it hard to be prouder than I was in that moment.

Equally certain is the fact that I’ll want to wring his neck at least 100 times before September actually arrives. A bloody rollercoaster, this parenting lark.

And lo, it has come to pass, that I have become one of those crazy approaching middle aged mums, that gets tipsy on white wine on a rare night out and weeps about her children. Somewhere, my teenaged self is shaking her head in disgust.

She would also have been none too keen on my penchant for a certain Swedish furniture store. Not for the flat-packed furniture (although my house is actually full of it) – but more for the amazing food. Where else can you buy a stylish, affordable wardrobe with innovative storage solution, at the same time as pickled herrings, pear cider and a mega bag of mini Dime bars?

Today I copied their delicious meatballs from a recipe I found on the Internet. 500g Pork Mince, mixed with a small finely diced onion, dill, egg, breadcrumbs and seasoning – rolled into small balls. Each rolled in a little flour then browned in a mixture of butter and olive oil. When they’re browned, remove from the pan and whisk in some beef stock until you have a thick, rich gravy. Then return the meatballs to the pan to cook through. I served mine with rice, but chips are nicer…

Yummy, if not the exact replica promised by the website. The kids scoff the lot. More fuel to make them grow even bigger *sigh*. And a very familiar teenage voice seems to holler at me from 1993 – “Pull yourself together Loser – you’re embarrassing us both!” 8/10.













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