Monday 24 September 2007

We're not really talking about pudding...

Sunday, and a guarded teatime discussion with Nini, held in whispered tones, so that the miniature Jodrell Bank listening station at the other end of the table (Amelie) couldn't tell what it was that we were talking about. This was because the topic was some 'Class A' scurrilous gossip regarding a passing female acquaintance, who it is rumoured likes to go to bed early - preferably with various neighbours. I was fascinated, but also struggling to understand what the attraction was.
Paul: "Him? He did? I don't get it, why would he go for her..?"
Nini: "Can't you see it? There's definitely something about her that men would like. Something sexy..."
P: "There isn't. There really isn't. Other than, you know, her availability..."
N: "There is. Just because you can't see it, doesn't mean it's not there. You're very...judgemental about stuff like that, which means you don't appreciate..."
P: (interrupting indignantly) "Judgemental? I am not judgemental..."
N: "Hmmmmm...."
P: "I am not. I think you mean 'discerning'."
N: "Well, OK, not judgemental exactly, more...fussy."
P: "Fussy? No. Discerning."
N: "It's just that you don't go for that kind of earthiness....but some men do. So you can't tell when a woman has a sexy earthiness about her..."
P: (inexplicably insulted, and with a rising voice): "I can too! There is a difference between being earthy, and being brassy - and she is just brassy..."
Amelie: (suddenly interested) "What? Who is a raspberry?"
There is a short, awkward pause, during which I watch Neve fishing around in her bib for pre-chewed nuggets of discarded food that might still need finishing off, and in which I hope that Nini can think of something diplomatic to say to cover my faux pas.
N: (rallying) "Nobody. Nobody is a raspberry. Daddy was just...not being judgemental, apparently..."
P: (muttering to himself) "Exactly. Daddy is discerning..."
A: (happily oblivious) "I like raspberries. For my pudding."
N: "Well, lots of people do." Then, with a sly glint in her eye: "But Daddy clearly doesn't appreciate a good 'raspberry'..."
P: "I...I'm not saying that. There's nothing wrong with 'raspberries'. I'm just saying I prefer a more...sophisticated dessert. Like, er, a tiramasu. Or a pavlova..."
N: "I see..."
P: "Well, think about it. Would you rather I thought you were a 'raspberry' or a pavlova..."
N: (primly) "I am neither, thankyou. I am a...Summer pudding."
P: (gaping) "A what? A Summer pudding?"
N: "Yes. Fruity. Refreshing."
A: (nodding loyally, but with, thankfully, zero comprehension) "Mummy is a Summer pudding, Daddy..."
P: "Is that right?" (turning back to Nini) "And what is Daddy, then?"
N: "Treacle sponge. Or chocolate log."
P: (incredulous) "Treacle sponge! Treacle sponge! Oh, thanks very much!"
N: "But I like treacle sponge."
P: "I am NOT a treacle sponge. Treacle sponge is all stodgy"
N: "Oooh, I know what you can be: Christmas pudding. I love Christmas pudding!"
P: "But you only get Christmas pudding once a year!"
N: "I'd have it all the time if I could..."
P: (darkly) "We had better be talking about actual puddings now..."