Our two grandsons have left our home. The first visit for Nathan. I do hope he enjoyed his stay, he only complained a couple of times but then he is less than two months old. Oliver at just three, is a delight. He commandeered my summerhouse and wouldn’t let us in… unless we knocked. He isn’t brilliant at eating all his meals but when al fresco, he did much better. He helped me in the garden, moving one lot of soil to the wheelbarrow even though it added to my workload later. His favourite book for the last three days turned out to be Squash the Spider! By Nick Ward. No, the spider isn’t squashed (but it was a close call). We read it to him at least ten times and he was quoting phrases from it in the right places… eg Tee hee, Boo, I’m not scared. Wonderful. Thanks to our former neighbours, James and Lindsey Musker, for giving us this book, among others, when they migrated to Australia. As my daughter drove them down the road I recited to myself, missing them already.
I’ve been able to avoid entering pizza restaurants for several years. Being vegan my choice is limited to salads, pasta or some kind of dry pizza based round thing. However, as a kind of belated Mothers Day celebration I was driven to a Pizza Hut and found myself pleasantly surprised. Yes, the pizzas have cheese but it wasn’t compulsory. There was much more salad choices than I recalled and lovely sunflower seeds to enrich them. Then it became clear that the CEO had been watching Come Dine With Me or Master Chef. The plates came as flat, matt black with rounded corners. Two issues presented themselves immediately: how do I stop the cherry tomatoes shooting off the plate with no rim? You can’t stab them with forks because they invariably both implode and explode in such a way that my tie (or whatever) has changed colour and wetness. The second issue slowing the start of my meal and making me hesitate worryingly throughout, is the hole.
For some unfathomable reason the plate has a 2 cm diameter hole in the bottom left corner. How can one expect to enjoy shovelling the wonderful salad, tomato-base, olives, peppers and assorted primary colours around the palette when there’s a hole in it? Pressure I can do without. Maybe it’s a test. To verify my wife’s allegations I can’t keep food on my plate. Or a game, to prove the converse.
Luckily I managed to eat my fill – about half the pizza – without any food disappearing over the rim of the void. When the waitress arrived I enquired after the hole. She didn’t, at first, understand my query but finally asserted it was to make life easier for carrying. I didn’t get that. Ordinary plates don’t have holes, and usually come with a little lip to prevent wetness and cherry tomatoes escaping. As a chaser question I enquired why my hole was bottom left while my wife’s was top right. “Nothing significant,” she replied, suspiciously.
“Are the plates matt black to promote heat absorption under the food to make it cool quickly?” I asked, “or to radiate infrared from the uncovered parts of the plate to warm us up?” She refused to respond.
Which brings me to a short story I’m preparing to write. An asteroid on its way to smite Earth is deflected by courageous astronauts, but it re-directs itself back to Earth. Asking my Chester SF book group, pal, Alex Greene, he tells me there is Star Trek Voyager 61, called Rise, which has a similar plot. Ah well, at least mine is directed at Earth, and called Target Practice, and will be humorously written. Wonder if the asteroid is big enough to house a Pizza Hut?
I’ll be glad when plates are back to normal, and won’t be drilling holes in our grandchildren’s plates any time soon.
I knew mysterious holes meant something subliminal to me and then I remembered them appearing in mystical places around Earth in my science fiction novel – Exit, Pursued by a Bee. Read about it here – ebook and paperback.