Me: [writing another article for the TES to add to previous articles I've written for them and doing research the lazy way] Hey, Daughter, what was the name of the 1970s band who did that song? You know, the one about Christmas and everybody's having fun.
Her: [doesn't even have to think about it] Slade.
Me: Oh, thanks. [Inserts reference into article.]
Her: There is no way, Mum, that should have been me who knew that and not you.
This just exemplifies what is happening to my memory. I think it's to do with my age. I looked up the blog of someone called Perry Menopause, and he says that around this time, once you hit 50, your memory can deteriorate quite ... quite ... in fact, I can't recall exactly what Perry said, but I'm sure it explained everything.
Just after my grandchild was born a month ago, I was between lessons at school and someone came into the English Department and said, 'Hey, I hear you're a Grandma! What's his name?'
Do you know, I stood there for a few seconds, thinking ... six letters ... I know it's six letters ... I know it's a Biblical name ... then I said, 'Josiah?'.
All my colleagues in the office yelled, 'No, it's not, it's ELIJAH!'
'Ah. That's it. Elijah,' I said. 'I knew that. I knew that. I said it was six letters.' I slunk off to go and teach some kids about Romeo and Janet.
Here's a chance to draw a distinction between two easily confused words: incredulous and incredible.
a) It was incredible that Fran had forgotten her own grandson's name so quickly.
b) Fran's colleagues were incredulous that they had had to remind her of her own grandson's name.
I offer a recent picture, just to show you that I remembered to take my camera with me when I saw him last. (Not hard. He was staying with us.)
|He's the one on the left.|
Still, what I can remember is how to cook by instinct. (Just as well, because I may not be able to remember exactly where we keep the recipe books.)
A short scene from half an hour ago, set in a domestic kitchen:
Me: Right, so I'm making a pineapple upside down pudding. I think I might make a little syrup to go in the bottom of the dish.
Daughter: You think you might?
Me: Yep, and then I might put a bit of ground ginger in it.
Daughter: Er, shouldn't you be following some kind of recipe for this?
Me: Yeah, that's about enough brown sugar. I'll just pop a little butter in there too, I reckon.
Daughter: You reckon? You don't actually know?
Me: That looks about right.
Daughter: Oh, as long as it's about right.
We'd just had her version of Japanese stir-fry. Some of you know she's been a Japanese Student at Sheffield University, and now she cooks for us sometimes the dishes she made for herself while out in Hiroshima,
I was watching her eat with chopsticks, grappling with noodles about a mile long. 'It's not a polite process,' I said, 'is it?'
So, then, she demonstrated for us how she would have done it in Japan. I will say two things about this:
1. The idea of how to eat noodles politely varies wildly across the globe.
2. I've never heard anyone slurp for so long without a breath. As I said, long noodles.