I'm Olly Pwengl and this is my blog. It's about my experience of being a man and hitting middle age. I have called it Road Map of a Mid-Life Crisis because middle aged men like maps and I hope some people will stumble across the blog while looking for directions to their mother's care home or whatever destination they might have in mind. In which case they will be disappointed because RMOAMLC describes the journey I am on; it should not be used as a guide by anyone else. If at any time you feel inclined to copy something I have done or you think that my experience offers useful insight as to how you should tackle issues in your own life it is likely that you need professional help. Do please read on and leave your comments.

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

ROAD MAP OF A MID-LIFE CRISIS (13) Leftovers Thursday evening and I am opening the front door. Moppet has had the day off and I am greeted by the comforting smells of home cooked food. “Hi, I’m home,” I shout as I kick off my shoes. “Good timing,” Moppet replies from the kitchen. “Your dinner will be ready in five minutes.” I dash upstairs to change and wonder what treat lies in store. Back downstairs, I poke my head through the kitchen door looking for clues. The work surfaces are bare and the hob is clear. Moppet spots me and shoos me out. “Go and sit down, it’s a surprise.” I take my place at the table and hear the familiar ping of the microwave. Ah, I have it! Take away. Whilst I am inwardly congratulating myself on my powers of deduction, Moppet approaches with a plate of steaming food. She looks very pleased with herself as if she is about to present me with a meal that will live long in the memory. She places it in front of me. “You not eating?” I ask. “No, I ate earlier,” she says and disappears off back to the kitchen. I look down at dinner and my heart sinks. What confronts me is like walking into a room and finding several acquaintances savagely murdered. Visible within a Gordian knot of tomato sauce smeared tagliatelle are pieces of broccoli, spinach leaves, spring onions and two rather ominous looking lumps of greying flesh. I should make it clear that Moppet is not a bad cook. She does, however, approach issues of food safety with an attitude that is cavalier bordering on the criminally reckless. She laughs at sell by dates and regards best before dates rather like Robert Mugabe regards the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Our fridge is like food Alcatraz. There are only way two ways out. Either on a plate or by evolving complex microbial mutations which enable the food to escape and live a fulfilling life as a recruitment consultant. There may or may not be intelligent life on other planets but I am convinced that there are flourishing civilisations yet to be discovered living in our salad crisper. The constituent parts of my dinner are like old friends. The broccoli has been hanging around in the bottom of the fridge for some weeks. I don’t recall how it got in there and I do not rule out the possibility that it may just be a very vigorous strain of mould from the cheddar that has been in the door tray since Christmas. The spinach I dimly recall was from a bag of baby spinach bought so long ago that the remnants on my plate must now be thinking about their GCSE options. The spring onions, well lets just say they have long since lost their spring. The grey flesh I realise with a shudder is the remnants of a pack of chicken pieces with a more interesting life story than many of the people I work with. On Friday of last week they emerged having been entombed in the freezer and I first encountered them thawing out on the draining board. They spent the weekend cooling their heels in the fridge before on Sunday evening Moppet announced that she was making a casserole. By Monday morning there was a large white bowl covered in tin foil occupying the fridge and despite the coolness I swear that I could hear the contents bubbling. By Wednesday night I was convinced that the chicken pieces had risen like the undead and were trying to crawl out of the bowl. And now here they are on my plate. I’m not sure whether to eat them or put a stake through their heart. Moppet appears from the kitchen. “Everything alright?” she asks. “Oh yes,” I say with as much enthusiasm as I can muster. I make a convincing show of tucking in but I’m careful only to eat the pasta and to leave untouched the zombie chicken and the Frankenstein vegetables. “Marks out of ten?” asks Moppet. “Eight. Definitely 8 out of ten,” I say smiling. “Good,” says Moppet, “I’m just going upstairs to sort out the washing.” As I hear her footsteps fade on the stairs I make a bolt for it and shovel the environmental health disaster that is my dinner into the bin. I am careful to cover it over with a plastic bag to avoid discovery. Later, as we sit on the sofa, Moppet says, “It’s good that we use up all the leftovers.” “Yes,” I say nodding, “but great as it was I’m still a bit peckish.” “Do you fancy some cheese and biscuits?” asks Moppet. “That would be nice.” “I think there’s some cheddar in the fridge,” says Moppet and I’m not quick enough to stop her getting up.

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