It’s according to my computer and I am still sitting in my nightie and Lily’s pink fluffy dressing gown which I put on to make her laugh after finding it on the bathroom floor a few hours ago. She, also in her nightie, doesn’t look up from the piano, on which she is determined to master Fur Elise. I’m so hungry that I can’t make a decision. Do I wash my hair now? Get dressed? Take the dog for a walk? Finish answering unanswered emails? Make breakfast?
I settle for making lunch.
Lily is reading her book of Myths and Legends. We are eating a healthy lunch. At least I am.
‘I don’t like this salad with those things in it,’ says Lily. ‘It’s too fishy.’
‘But they’re those little marinated anchovies that you normally love.’
‘Did you put them in the plastic thingy?’
‘What do you mean?’
‘Usually you have to put them in that plastic thingy with the lid yourself.’
She’s so fly. I know what she’s getting at. Are they fresh is what she’s getting at, or did you pick some manky old ready-packed ones?
‘No they were already in it.’
'Hmmm.' She returns to her book.
‘You normally like them.’
‘Well I don’t like these. They’re too fishy.’
‘Well take them out and eat the rest of the salad.’
She glances up and catches me with baby leaf stalks sprouting out of my mouth like whiskers. ‘Mum!’ exclaims Lily. ‘Don’t put so much food in your mouth! Hypocrite.’
She has recently become the police, fighting back against hypocrisy, corruption and lawlessness in the home.
‘Mum! Look where you’re putting your feet!’ she said to me this morning as I tripped over the computer cable while looking at the iPhone as I walked to the window where I could get a reception. ‘Hypocrite!’
'You must get an early night, tonight,' I said to Lily yesterday as we drove home from Tesco’s.
‘Mum! You must go to bed early and not stay up till watching the riots!’ retorts Lily, her eyes wild and laughing. ‘Hypocrite!’
I separate the salad from the fish. The trouble is, she’s always right. These are not only ready-packed anchovies. These are old anchovies. They were clearly end-of-batch, shovelled from the deli counter into cartons and reduced. Plus they’ve been in the fridge for a fair while. I reckoned they'd last because they’re practically pickled, but they do taste a bit chewy and acidic compared to the fresh ones.
She picks at the salad with disdain, not actually raising the fork to her lips.
‘They make the whole salad taste fishy.’
‘So you don’t want it? You’ve had enough lunch?’
‘I wasn’t hungry anyway.’
I eat the salad myself, then put the bowl with the anchovies on the floor for Dusty, who laps them up.
‘Dusty doesn’t think they’re too fishy,’ I point out.
‘She’s a dog!’