Nants ingonyama bagithi baba
Sithi uhhmm ingonyama
– Circle of Life
Happy Birthday Mum.
Every now and again you actually have to take stock of how time does go forward.
It is to be mum’s 70th birthday! But from the way she looks and acts you would not put her a shade over 50!
In honesty, I have seen some people who look older than my mum but are only 40! (and I’m nearly 40).
Everyone had a different idea of how mum should be celebrating it.
My sister believed it should be all glammed up, going for afternoon tea at Claridges. Have you met my family? Let’s be honest, my dad does not do the whole dainty food thing at the best of times and he worked at the International Forum Hotel for near on 30 years.
And, for that matter, I don’t either. I’m pretty sure I could inhale of those trays of bite-sized cakes and sandwiches all by myself.
I wanted to visit the local Chinese restaurant for dim sum. Previously it was the Ho Lee (now, known as Super Three) in Poplar, London. We were there on such a regular basis that they happily closed up the restaurant for us to use on a Saturday afternoon for my nephew’s christening party. It was a sad day when they sold the business.
Now we frequent Yi Ban. Nestled by the River Thames, in the Docklands, East London. They have a fantastic view of London City Airport (don’t worry, the noise won’t disturb you), and their dim sum is to die for (and their crispy belly pork).
We will be talking about them in the near future. I am sure.
Mum on the other hand just wanted to cook pancit (a Filipino noodle dish), potato salad, a roast of some sort. And have us all around the table. I should say her potato salad is to die for. I’m pretty sure half of east London know about her potato salad.
Alas, fate would have other ideas. As mentioned she’s turning 70, and time marches on. She was struck with a viral infection, that knocked her for six and resulted in a trip to the hospital (at 2:00 AM) two days before her birthday.
Now before anyone thinks the worse, she was home by the morning. Back in bed, resting.
So, it’s Plan D for her birthday then.
What is Plan D? That’d be me cooking!
Yeah, right! Like I am able to cook pho!
It was me who did arrange the food because it is always better to have your food nicely presented (even if it means pouring the tube of Pringles into a bowl).
It also meant that my nephew had to wait while I took photos!
However, I did also learn to cook two dishes. Mum managed to teach me how to cook arroz caldo, and sotanghon. Well as much as she could while lying in bed.
“chop some onions, garlic, and ginger and fry it. Put in the chicken, and rice, and add the chicken stock”
I’m pretty sure it’s like some version of the technical challenge of Great British Bake Off. Here are the ingredients, you figure out the details!
During the weekend (the same one as my mum’s birthday) we learned that a long time family friend passed away after a long battle with a number of illnesses.
And by long, I mean decades. Nothing was going to stop this man from seeing his family grow. By the time he passed away he had children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.
All of which I am sure will remember him fondly. I know I do.
This man, and his wife, were there when I was growing up as a baby, and infant.
At the time, he was a giant, with voice, that would gain respect without frightening you (very important when you are a child). And that respect would always be there.
Time Marches On…
As I said at the beginning, you do have to take stock of how time keeps on going forward.
There have been precious few male role models in my life that took an active look at how I was progressing as a child, teenager, and adult. And sadly, over the last few years we have had to say goodbye to them.
This is aside from my father of course, who I am happy to say is still very much with us.
But I look at my parents and wonder how much time I have left with them. But I do know I should cherish every moment I have with them and I learn how to be a better son!
I do not want to add on such a maudlin note so I would like to welcome the nephew of a work colleague into the world.
Welcome Noah, all 6 pounds of you. Hope you, and your family are doing well!