I’m sure she won’t mind me disclosing this, but my wife is 50 later this year. It is a landmark birthday that five years ago, when she was diagnosed with her incurable illness, we thought she wouldn’t see.
With this in mind, we as a family are eager to ensure a collection of special experiences to make this a memorable few months for Karen Strachan.
So far we have bought her tickets for gigs to witness Adele, Mariah Carey, Billy Joel and Paul Heaton/Jacquie Abbott. We are hoping to get to a race meeting at York on the day of her June birthday, which coincidentally is the MacMillan Cancer Charity meeting.
To make that day even more special we have arranged for her to ride a horse in the Walter Mitty Stakes at 2.50. According to Karen she’s never ridden an equine before (although bizarrely she has a horse!), but how hard can it be?!
On that day we have also secured her an integral part in the later charity auction, when one lucky person can bid for the opportunity of listening to Karen’s holiday meal anecdotes!
Much to our adult kids (Jonny & Rachel) and my amazement, Karen has the ability to recall every meal she has had on previous family holidays! It’s a great gift of memory that may not sound that useful, but don’t underestimate it. These powers of culinary recollection can be very handy for ridding you of unwanted house guests! ….. Apart from mice who seem to be fascinated by them!
So if you want to know about the exquisite salmon dish on the third night in Ciudadela in 1999, the culinary masterpiece of clams cuisine on the penultimate night of our 2011 cruise or the slightly overdone tuna mombous get ready to bid on her special day!
If you wonder what a tuna mombous is you’re not the only one! It’s a fictional dish I just created from the depths on my cranial database. It obviously would have tuna in it, but I’d have to have a think about the ingredients for a mombous sauce! Leave that with me!
Her holiday meal anecdotes are delivered with warmth, humour and the regular use of the words “Are you asleep?!”
A word of warning, I’d feign a bilious attack if she starts talking about the steak tartar on the fifth night at Paphos in 2005. Not meaning to be disrespectful, but the minutiae of detail she possesses on that tale, which includes the number of grains of salt she used, leaves the realms of gripping very early in the story!
Going back to the memories we wanted to give my diminutive spouse, Jonny, Rachel and I are attempting to think of a suitable experience day for her. We undertook some research into a company in the UK called Red Letter Days who facilitate the granting of these wishes.
To clarify, its not a company of genies who appear from a lantern and bequeath improbable requests like world peace, a Leeds Utd manager to last more than a month or the recipe for tuna mambous!
Their portfolio of ‘experience days’ includes more realistic dreams, such as of driving performance cars, parachuting, white water rafting and swimming with lobsters.
We broached the subject with Karen, requesting of what she’d love to do as an ‘experience day’! She wasn’t sure at first, but didn’t rule out the lobster swimming!
Eventually, she responded that she’d always wanted to carry out a vasectomy on me! Thankfully for yours truly, but disappointingly for my offspring, Red Letter Days don’t provide an experience day of that nature!
After further pondering, Karen advised the three of us that she wouldn’t mind flying a plane! We probed further to understand whether she meant via a flight simulator or a small single engine plane. To our surprise she said she’d always wanted to take controls of a domestic flight in a Boeing 767!
Jonny, Rachel and I love the wee Geordie lassie. However, that love would be severely tested if we were sat on a domestic flight and, just prior to take off, heard Karen’s distinctive north east tones on the tannoy advising “This is your captain speaking! We aim to take off from the east runway shortly, once we receive clearance from air traffic control.”
In candour I think ‘severely tested’ would be an understatement! We’d be off that bird quicker than you could say “Please acquaint yourself with the safety instructions in the seat pocket in front of you.”
Anyway, it’s back to the old drawing board with plans for Karen a red letter experience day. It has to be as some cheeky bugger stole our new drawing board last week when I was in the shower! They must have been clever thieves as I wrote ‘old drawing board’ on the new drawing board to trick any would be pilferers. Unfortunately, it appears they saw straight through my ploy!
At the races on her birthday we also plan to book a meal prior to the commencement of the horse racing. The culinary reputation of the EBOR restaurant is unsurpassed, particularly by establishments that don’t surpass it!
Disappointingly their menu doesn’t extend to tuna mombous! Oh yeah I forgot, I made that up so it wouldn’t do!
Right, I best get off as in the absence of locating a vasectomy ‘red letter day’ Karen is heading towards me now with two house bricks! ……. I must dash!!!
What tuna mombous might look like