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All about my mother: Mum's in a stew again

Like most kids growing up, we had a Monday to Friday dinner routine. Having moved out ages ago, I had no idea that my parents still have a precise set-up you can set your watch by. I'm having my lunch when she rings. It's Wednesday, which I know is stew day.

"Hi mum."

"Hi love. Do you want to pop over for some stew later?"

I am mouthing the words along with her as she calls me every Wednesday, with the same question. And always at lunchtime.

Regular readers will know I've spoken before about how mammy is the anti-Delia, but she does a mean stew. And if I pop up, there'll be a cauldron-sized pot of the stuff. This means before you can say "Tupperware", I'll be sorted for dinners for the next three days. It's cold, I'm broke, what's there to lose?

"Will you get me some bread on the way over?"


"None of that fancy stuff with those weird seeds that you seem to like. A batch loaf will do."

"6pm so."

"Right, but ... "

"And don't be late."

"I have a deadline. I probably won't be there bang on six."

"Well your father and I will be starving."

"So go ahead and eat without me."

"That defeats the whole purpose of you coming around."

"No it doesn't! I can just eat when I get there."

There is a muted sniff. I can't tell if this is haughtiness or if she's faking tears.

"It'll be ruined."

"It's stew. In a big pot. You can't ruin it."

"You can. The carrots go a bit funny."

"I'll still eat it."

"Fine. The dog loves it anyway, if you won't."

I am oddly reassured by those words.