Our favourite things

On grand­par­ent duty one cold, wet, win­try week­end, Jo Sea­gar re­plays a clas­sic movie and in­spires a heap of fun and thank­ful­ness.

Australian Women’s Weekly NZ - - A SLICE OF LIFE -

Out­door play had been can­celled due to the in­clement Can­ter­bury weather. It was a rainy and very cold day with warnings of snow, so not ideal for our week­end of grandie duty with the lit­tle grand­sons. All plans for the hike up the Waimakariri

River gorge were quickly aban­doned, to be re­placed with cosy in­door ac­tiv­i­ties. Cook­ing was quickly pro­grammed into the sched­ule. We opted for pikelets, and af­ter some se­ri­ous clean­ing up due to the “flip­ping and toss­ing” ex­per­i­ments of four- and five-year-old boys, we had a lovely big pile made. Granny was def­i­nitely right about it not be­ing a good idea to pull the elec­tric beater blades out of the whipped cream with mo­tor run­ning on full speed – but hey, it was prob­a­bly time to wash the ceil­ing any­way, and do­ing that filled an­other hour.

Fi­nally, with a big plate of jam-and-cream­topped pikelets and hot cho­co­late at the ready, we sat down for a fam­ily movie and af­ter­noon tea.

No one could quite agree on which Dis­ney, Pixar, kid-friendly an­i­mated of­fer­ing to choose, but af­ter lots of, shall we say heated, dis­cus­sions and even episodes of grand­par­ent grumpi­ness, the de­ci­sion was left to poppa Ross. His choice was a sur­pris­ingly good one, so from the fam­ily’s box of trea­sured DVDs he dragged out the ul­ti­mate clas­sic – The Sound of Mu­sic.

The lit­tle boys adored the story and we sang along to all the fa­mil­iar tunes. Mod­ern gen­er­a­tion boy Leroy was quite wor­ried (and rightly so) that they weren’t wear­ing life jack­ets in the row­boat cap­siz­ing scene, and tech wizard Lu­cas was ter­ri­bly con­cerned about the cell­phone cov­er­age up in those moun­tains. Both boys got right into theme and had me fash­ion some leder­ho­sen looka­likes with strips of brown rib­bon safe­typ­inned to their shorts.

The song about favourite things be­came the week­end theme tune and the boys spent ages on their own in­di­vid­ual lists of favourite things. I’m mad for lists at the best of times and love all those grat­i­tude, thank­ful­ness diaries. Com­ing up with a list of my favourite things was easy, and I thought I’d share part of it with you here, hop­ing it may in­spire you to list your own favourites.

I’ll start by chan­nelling Maria and her “brown pa­per pack­ages tied up with string” as I’m quite fond of that kind of present too. I love light­houses and Land Rovers, eggs Bene­dict and su­per crispy ba­con, big fat dark red cher­ries, black faced sheep, san­dal­wood soap, log split­ting and wood stack­ing for win­ter fires. Crab ap­ple trees and potager gar­dens, I adore a lovely new edi­tion of a favourite mag­a­zine (read here The Aus­tralian Women’s Weekly), pe­onies and helle­bores, weather vanes on old farm build­ings, dark cho­co­late with raisins in it and Eskimo pies (al­though I’m not sure if it’s po­lit­i­cally cor­rect to name them that any more). I love gummy sweets, es­pe­cially those cin­na­mon flavoured glow hearts. I love writ­ing in ink with a foun­tain pen, faded chintz cush­ions and the smell of beeswax fur­ni­ture pol­ish. Drink­ing icy, salt-crusted Mar­gar­i­tas. I love old Per­sian rugs and the song of tui. I trea­sure hand­writ­ten fam­ily heir­loom recipe books, I love red leather gloves and the sheets straight off the line back on the bed.

The list goes on and on… I’m sure you get the pic­ture, so have a shot at writ­ing your own; it’s ac­tu­ally rather ther­a­peu­tic.

The magic con­tin­ued with the promised snow start­ing to fall in the af­ter­noon.

Bun­dled up in our cosy gear we ended the day’s ad­ven­tures with, “Look Granny, snowflakes that stay on your nose and eye­lashes.”

Our favourite fam­ily din­ner is now The Sound of Mu­sic-in­spired schnitzels with noo­dles: Pan-fry crumbed schnitzels – these can be pork, beef or chicken. Serve on a bed of but­tered noo­dles (I use tagli­atelle or spaghetti) tossed with some peas or broc­coli. Fin­ish with a sim­ple sauce of sour cream mixed with grainy mus­tard and lots of chopped pars­ley.

The magic con­tin­ued with the promised snow start­ing to fall…

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