Living the Dream: New life means learning the ropes in the kitchen

Shaun and Wendy McKenna.  Pic: Lucy Oates.

Shaun and Wendy McKenna. Pic: Lucy Oates.

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As you would probably expect there have, over the last couple of years, been many changes to our lives and in some cases to the way that we do things around here. For some of us these changes were neither expected, sought after or welcomed.

A little background may be useful here. For 30 years I was out doing a normal job, with all that would entail, doing my bit to support our family and that was that. Yes, I would help out at home, a little here, a little there, but in the main, our home was looked after by Wendy, and she does a great job too, or maybe I should say did!

You see the thing is that over recent months Wendy, as you know, has been setting up and establishing her new teashop. Business very quickly spiralled and is doing really well, but the resulting fallout from this is that with so little time available to her, I have had to take on responsibility for the domestics. I was excited about that I can tell you.

Apparently, things are a little quieter for me during the winter months and so I am doing my best to keep our home ship-shape. I get involved in all those marvellous jobs that so often in the past I would have taken for granted and shied away from whenever possible. You know the sorts of jobs, like doing the washing, although I did know how the washer worked, doing the ironing, hoovering, dusting, changing beds, washing up, tidying rooms, cleaning the bathroom, the loo, the list is endless. I must say though, that I am still one for getting the washing in that tumble drier whenever possible, but this has been the case all along.

In the past, I would get my orders when Wendy was heading out somewhere, “When the washing has finished, can you get it out on the line, thanks!”

So, I would cut out the middle man and get it in the drier and then once finished, I would get the basketful out beside the washing line, so when Wendy returned, she automatically presumed that I had just been gathering up the newly wind tossed items off the line after being blown in the breeze for the previous couple of hours. I know, it’s just down right lazy.

One of the tasks which has been the biggest drain on my skills is making the tea each day. I didn’t expect that these women would have lasted this long putting up with my cooking, but they have. They put their orders in and I do my best to oblige and turn out a meal to be proud of, although I can never recall getting much option in the past, I just got what I was given, but there you go.

Beyond the obligatory beans on toast, most things have been a struggle, but I’m doing my best to become acquainted with recipe books and the ‘Good Food Guide’ online, which has turned out to be a real boon.

Up to now, the most common complaint I have received has been, “Why do we always have to have army surplus sized portions?”

In my defence, I’m trying to get to grips with the portion control.

These last few months have really opened my eyes up to a whole new world. I used to think that I was quite domesticated, but I never realised quite how much there is to do, to keep a home clean, cooked for and comfy, but one thing’s for sure, I definitely do now.

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