Today began as a typical day in the Dunford-Castro household. I woke up this morning to be told that there was no milk, and therefore there would be no tea until there was. I got up and dressed in my usual pre-tea stupor and went to the local shop where I bought bread and milk, then returned home where my wife Loly made me a nice cup of tea.
I had only taken a couple of sips before having to put it down and go and program the satnav for Loly to get to Boldre Village Hall for an art lesson for our son, Raf.
Then, while Loly was trying to get Raf’s breakfast ready, cook dinner for tonight (as she was going to be late back) and get herself ready to go out, I had to find a charger for Raf’s iPad, pack his sailing things and find some change for my wife. All the while my tea was growing steadily colder, and my stomach was reminding me that I still hadn’t eaten any breakfast.
I helped load today’s homeschooling equipment into the car and Loly and Raf left for their days adventures, then I went to warm up my cold tea in the microwave. There, by the kitchen door, giving me that look that only a hungry Chihuahua can give, was Hercules. He could smell the chicken roasting in the oven and was licking his lips and nose theatrically.
I took out a dog food pouch, washed his bowl up and put it down in front of him. He looked at the bowl, craned his neck to sniff at it cautiously without actually moving towards it, then looked back at me, as if to say ‘do you really think I am eating that when I can smell chicken in the oven?’ then he walked away in disgust.
I looked in the cupboard for something to have on my toast and noticed the peanut butter jar. Mmm, I thought, peanut butter and banana on toast, now that’s a plan! I took out the jar unscrewed the lid and peered inside, praying the kids hadn’t eaten it all and just left me the empty jar like they usually did.
Bingo! With some forensic scraping of the jar I could just about muster enough for my two slices of morning toast. I put the bread in the toaster, warmed up the half a cup of tea I still had and waited for the toaster to pop. Incredibly, the hoard of locusts that passes for children in our house hadn’t yet finished all the bananas, so things were really starting to look up. My tummy gave another spasm of ravening indignation but it was ok, I would soon be eating my much delayed breakfast.
Toast popped and peanut buttered, I grabbed a fork and a banana (to mash the the banana on top of the peanut butter, trust me, it’s the best) picked up my tea and toast, and headed to the lounge to listen to the news while I ate my brekky.
I had just put the TV on and my breakfast on the coffee table, when my mobile phone began to ring. I considered ignoring it, but when I glanced at the phone I saw it was a call from Loly.
The reception in our house is not good, so when I answered and could just about hear every third word I knew I had better go outside where the signal was stronger. “Can you take the chicken out of the oven please?” came the request from my wife. After receiving a few more last minute instructions I ended the call, went to the kitchen and took the chicken out of the oven, then returned to the lounge and my much anticipated breakfast.
I was so hungry I wanted a quick bite and couldn’t even wait to add the banana. I picked up a toast and brought it almost to my mouth, then hesitated. Something was wrong, the bread looked different… kind of scraped. There was barely any peanut butter left and what there was looked… wet.
I checked the other toast and it was the same. I was momentarily confused until I looked along the sofa to where a fawn coloured short haired Chihuahua sat, shaking and licking his nose, watching me intently. I reached over and picked him up to smell his breath.
There was a yellow-brown smudge and a small dollop of something (he always was a sloppy eater) in the white fur under his chin. I picked a bit off with my finger and smelled it. My worst fears were confirmed- peanut butter!
Somedays it seems, breakfast just isn’t meant to be. I had better go and cover up the chicken now; we also have a cat!