I tell you … as much as one has to like one’s relatives, Aunt Gertrude makes it very difficult indeed. For years I have loved her as I love the sun … from afar! Us living in Britain and she in Australia has been the ideal relationship and for a very long time the love between us has really blossomed.
She sent us one of her re-cycled Christmas cards once a year and that was enough love to last us a whole 12 months, until the next card.
By re-cycled, I mean that for years she sent us cards other people sent to her with the original message crossed off and her love and best wishes scribbled in. But it’s the thought that counts. They weren’t always Christmas cards. Sometimes it was birthday cards her friends sent her and she scribbled “Merry Christmas” and sent them to us to “save destroying trees” in the rainforest somewhere or other. On one occasion years ago she sent us a sympathy card she received after her husband passed away six months previously. She scribbled over the card “Best Wishes for Christmas” and that made it cheerful in an instant.
Her eagerness to save money whenever she can has been a source of family amusement for years.
Personally, I can live with that as long as it does not affect me directly. It’s her life and she can live it as she wants. But since she came to stay with us for a holiday her antics have directly affected me … especially this morning.
The family was out and for my sins I had to stay at home to finish a report I was writing and listen to the interminable nattering of my Aunt’s Australian accent. Perhaps this is a penance for “time-off” Purgatory; I don’t know.
I tried to ignore her as I typed away furiously trying to beat the time-deadline when I have to up-load the report to my boss.
I hadn’t had any breakfast and had been working since 7:30am. She got out of her room at about nine and suggested she makes me something to eat. How kind of her. I smiled and thanked her.
A bit later she came in with a nice cup of coffee and toast with grilled cheese and a meaty paste on top. The cheese was hot and melting, just as I like it, and the extra layer of meaty paste on top, bubbling because of the heat, made it divine. I devoured it thankfully and suggested that she makes some more.
“We have no more meat, cobber!” she screeched as she does normally, “it was a small tin and it’s finished!”
“It was lovely,” I said appreciatively, “what’s it called so we can buy it again?”
“It had no label, mate!” she screeched back showing me a small tin she had bought cheaply from the supermarket. It was cheap because it specifically had lost its label and had a small dent in it – that’s why!
I looked at the tin suspiciously and went to the pantry. It looked like tins we’d bought before. In fact it had the same serial number ink-jetted at the top like tins we’d bought before. Identical in fact to our cat’s tinned food.
She had just fed me cat food on toast !!!!!!!!
What mental type of relative have I got?
What possessed her to buy a tin with no label just because it was a few pence cheaper?
What was she expecting to find inside? Peas? Caviar? Grilled kangaroo liver marinated in Australian lager?
She is definitely totally mad.
And I note that she did not have any of the appetizing grilled breakfast toast.
Perhaps not that mad after all !
When I told her what she had just done she laughed and said “It’ll grow hair on your chest, cobber. Or should I say fur?”
I really wish I could love her from afar once again.