Historical House Weekend
Polish Pretend Son is in town, and so it is back to cooking and baking, waiting by the doorbell and racking my brains for simple Polish words I was sure I knew five minutes before PPS turned up. Last night’s forgotten word was “jedzenie“, which is pretty basic, for it means “food,”
The Historical Flat was not in apple-pie order, as I have been working career woman hours, and there were no homemade cookies to offer. However, I rectified this cookie deficit this morning when I made ginger cookies that are “almost keto.” PPS has been on a more-or-less strict “keto diet” for over a year, and he is positively glowing with health, one must admit.
Instead of staying for supper with his Scottish Pretend Father and me, PPS merely scattered his belongings from one end of the flat to the other and went out on the town. But that was fine by me as I was working late in my new-style career woman way. And at some point in his carousing about, PPS went either to the bus station or to the railway station and by prearrangement met a Beautiful Young Lady whose baggage he commandeered and whom he escorted to a dance.
At about 2:20 in the morning, I took the phone call and unset the burglar alarm and pushed the door button and met the happy dancers at the top of the stairs. My Polish was really very good for 2:20 AM, which just goes to show the power of sleep. I put the BYL in the super-nice guest room and PPS in the linen-closet-turned-library. Then I went back to bed where I tossed and turned before giving up and moving to the sitting-room to read myself into a stupor. At about 4 AM I returned to the matrimonial chamber and at last fell asleep—only to be awakened by the bl—blessed fire alarm at bl—blessed 5 AM.
Why, why, why, why does the fire alarm so often go into fault when there are guests in the house?!!!!
BA rushed out and down the stairs to the controls. I got up and pulled my silk dressing gown over my cotton nightgown–by the way it was bl–blessed 84 degrees Farenheit last night, which is a very rare occurrence in Scotland—and knocked on the BYL’s door to reassure her that the Historical House was not really on fire and to give her my ear protectors. Then I went back down the hall to commiserate with PPS, who bounced into the hallway in a state of déshabille rather startling in someone who usually wears so many pieces of clothing all at once.
This reminds me of the day I knew my glamour girl days were good and over, and I was only a Pretend Mother/Auntie sort of person. Gather around for this sad but short tale.
One Sunday our traddy priest announced at Mass that two traddy Canadian girls were coming to Scotland on “on pilgrimage” and would anyone take them in? Naturally I didn’t believe this pilgrimage nonsense, but the girls were Canadian, so it was clearly my job to feed and house them. It was also clearly my job to have a little dinner party and introduce them to Nice Catholic Boys although I bet the priest didn’t think of that.
The traddy Canadian girls thought that this party was a good plan, so they dressed up in whatever finery they had brought and sat in the sitting-room to await the Trad Catholic Bachelors. The most age-appropriate Trad Catholic Bachelors invited were Polish Pretend Son and Tobias. (Do you remember Tobias? He eventually went into the seminary and became Seminarian Pretend Son.) When these worthies arrived, I told them that the visiting girls were in the sitting-room and, as if one man, they both checked their hair in the hall mirror.
I had never felt so old.
Anyway, to return to last night, PPS stood about in the hallway en déshabille, for the alarm kept on shrieking in his room when it had shut up everywhere else. As I am now a career woman, I did not have another guest bed prepared for such an emergency, so I entreated PPS to sit in the sitting-room until Benedict Ambrose managed to turn off the alarm. Then, unused to seeing quite so much of PPS, I rushed down the stairs in search of BA,and almost bumped into a trio of fire fighters. (The Historical House being so entirely Historical, every time the bl—blessed fire alarm goes off, fire fighters are duty-bound to turn up.)
After informing BA of PPS’s very bad luck in having the sole remaining alarm-screams in his room, I went back upstairs and was relieved to find PPS now swathed in a bed sheet. He complained that he resembled “a war child”, but I thought this was a much better look for Historical House emergencies. Soon the alarm subsided, and PPS and his sheet went back to bed.
The irony in this story is that at about 2:30 AM, after I had shown BYL her room, a befuddled BA appeared in the hallway in boxer shorts and a T-shirt, and I sent him back into our room for his dressing-down lest he shock the tender young people.
This morning I got up and set out breakfast things and made some lovely żurek (a kind of Polish soup) and the almost-keto cookies. This evening after buying bags of jedzenia for tomorrow’s snazzy Sunday Lunch, I made chałka (Christian challah bread) and the dough for a mazurek królewski. I am now sitting up late waiting for the children to come home from a party, which reminds me of my mother sitting up late waiting for me to come home. I always wished she wouldn’t, but in this case I have to, as PPS can’t have a key, and someone must turn off the alarm, push the door button, set the alarm again, etc., etc.
Incidentally, I will never forget when PPS was born. I was thousands of miles away on the other side of the Iron Curtain dancing with the sons of Yugoslav defectors (among others) at a dance hosted by Brebeuf College School. Of course, this assumes PPS was born rather early in the Polish morning. If he was born later in the day, I was either asleep or busily writing all about the dance in my diary, which is almost the same thing. The next time I see his real mother, I will ask her to clarify the time.