Frozen berries are a great favourite of mine. They are a staple in the household and maintain a constant spot in the teeny, tiny freezer and push out life’s basics like meat and ugly frozen mixed vegetables.
Mixed into muffins, swirled through yoghurt and plopped into porridge, the crimson whorls are both beautiful and appetizing. I usually buy a massive, generic brand so that I can spill them extravagantly into mixtures and watch their bleeding hearts become art. Jack watches me in the hope I drop a morsel into his waiting mouth.
So it was with a certain smugness that when Nanna’s frozen mixed berries came under scrutiny for being the transmitter of a scary disease, I said to my daughter “we dodged a bullet there, ha ha ha.”
Well, not so. Call me old, but I had forgotten that in my endeavours to eke out my modest budget I had actually purchased some discounted Nanna’s berries. I had given them to my daughter topping them on to a plate brimming with ice-cream and cream and apple crumble and…hey, no more ands. We innocently scoffed them down, slurping and gulping for our sad little lives.
Now Nanna sounds like a doddering old dear who forgets names and lovingly knits ill-fitting jumpers for you from wool found in oddments bins. Nanna doesn’t sound like a nefarious old codger with unspeakable grime under her fingernails ready to infect her ‘grandies.’ Nanna should be put in a home.
But it’s not all Nanna’s fault. Behind the old fuddy duddy is Patties – yes Patties with no apostrophe. Patties could be the honorary aunt who keeps turning up at Christmas with no family credentials and has a sherry too many because it’s a freebie. Harmless as she seems in her Millers floral smock, she is no such thing. Seated next to Nanna at the table, she eggs her on to sample the salads with her hands, dribble into the small goods and sneeze on the poultry. Cross her off the Christmas list.
It takes between fifteen and fifty days for the symptoms to appear. That is something to look forward to; abdominal pain, nausea and fever. Violet of Willy Wonka fame turns a fetching blueberry violet for an indiscretion, but for hepatitis A sufferers instead of violet, they turn yelleeew. It even sounds sick.
I felt sorry for my daughter and put off admitting to her that we were entrants in hep-A-lotto. She nonchalantly brushed it off with a comment something like “if ya die – ya die.” Hey, woah slow down little one.
Jack gets fed pebbles. Apart from stealing apples off our tree and pressing us to give him scraps off our plate, his diet is very plain, not artistic and doesn’t given him hepatitis A. May be I should adopt his plain diet – of pebbles. So Nanna I give a raspberry to your raspberries, and hope no one has to bury us berry eaters.