Brash McKelvie – farewell to the roast dinners

Scottish Field’s new online columnist Brash McKelvie updates you on their week.

Here are the cast of characters that share the vicissitudes of life:

Scragend – a Rhode Island Red of indeterminate age and foul nature.

Shitting Cat – does exactly what it says on the tin.

The Beloved – a paragon of virtue and a self-appointed critic of most of my thoughts and actions.

Snr and Jnr Orifice – our fledged offspring.

The Beloved’s head popped round the shed door as Scragend and I were perusing the seed catalogue.

‘You do remember, don’t you, that we are having dinner at the Watsons tonight?’ I nodded my assent with a small knowing dip of the chin and a hint of a smile. Internally screaming ‘No, I did not bloody remember we are dining with the damnable Watsons and I wish you hadn’t remembered either’.

Not that I have anything against the Watsons you understand. In their own way they are perfectly pleasant people. He likes to play cars, Jags in particular, and embraces the ‘wife beater vest’ of sartorial chic wholeheartedly. She is a faded beauty, a touch chanteuse, a touch theatrical and, seemingly, one of the deftest touches in the kitchen I’m reliably informed.

In fact I do know this as we have enjoyed the Watsons’ hospitality on many occasions and these occasions were a joyous sojourn into open handed hospitality, marvellous wines, delicious food.

Succulent meats, pillowy clouds of Yorkshire puddings, lakes of fragrant gravy, herb encrusted roasted veg, what they could knock-up in that kitchen was almost verging on the indecent. And then Joy Free/Vegetarian/Vegan January happened again this year – and in true Watsons style they embrace the most radical of the options, ‘to be down with the kids’ and go vegan and organic and… smug.

But I did not know this at the time we accepted an invite to dine with them so I forswore off eating all that day in preparation for the delights of whatever mid-summer feast was in store for us.

Reader, when I sat down to dine, and with what followed in the matter of cuisine, well it was as close to putting your child on your lap, hugging them closely and then in honeyed tones telling them the tooth fairy does not exist.

These warm, hospitable people had turned into righteous commandos of the quinoa, extremists of the smoked tofu and intense proponents of’ the-concerned-hip-and-smug-and-by-God-are-you-going to-know-about-it’ school of bores, inducing on my behalf a desire to sign up to the ‘slap-me-so hard-and-so-often-till-I-can’t-feel-my-face-or-hear-what- they-are-saying’ school of thought. Dire doesn’t begin to cover it.

Coming out of my reverie about all things Watsons and culinary I noticed Scragend. Her attempt at showing a maternal instinct by sitting on a goose egg lasted all of three days before her true colours shone through and she pecked at it until it cracked and then hoovered up the contents with unseemly relish.

‘I might as well eat this seed catalogue, Scragend, for all the joy there will be tonight’ quoth I. She assented with small knowing dip of her chin and a hint of a smile on her beak.

‘Sucker’, she clucked.