Hallowe’en high jinks in the Banks household

Ollie Banks is swept along as an unwilling ‘victim’ in his wife’s Hallowe’en blog, and finds that his father is concerned about properly recording the expense of a dual-purpose pumpkin…

“I’m going to carve Grandad,” announced Alice, staggering into the kitchen carrying a huge pumpkin.

Ollie looked up from the floor where he was supervising baby Jack, who was stroking the ear of Biffo the family Basset Hound. It was hard to tell from Biffo’s expression if he was enjoying it; being a Basset Hound meant he never looked very enthusiastic about anything.  “How does Grandad feel about that?” Ollie asked his daughter.

“Don’t think he’ll mind,” said Alice. “It was his idea.” At that moment Grandad Ron came into the room armed with two very large bowls, a carving knife and a serving spoon. “I hope you like pumpkin soup, son; there’s going to be a bit of it on the menu over the next few days.”

“I’m not sure I do, if I’m honest,” said Ollie, frowning.

“Now’s a good time to start,” said Ron. “We’re doing this for a reason, and it’s got nothing to do with culinary preferences; yours or anyone else’s. We’re going to be in Lizzie’s blog, aren’t we, Alice?”

Ollie, still on the kitchen floor, started to say something, but all he could manage was: “Bu..? Wha..?, I..?”

“Spit it out son. What are you trying to say? Making noises like that and laying on the floor makes you look like a grown-up version of Jack. Well, I suppose you are,” he added, to himself.

Getting up and scooping up his son, Ollie regained the power of speech. “Why are you going to be in Lizzie Banks On It?” he asked.

Recording the expense of a pumpkin
“It’s an article about not wasting things, and about amusing children at half term by doing things together. It’ll show people how to carve Hallowe’en pumpkin masks, and then how to make soup with the bits they’ve scooped out,” he said. “There will be stencils for pumpkin cutting and then recipes to go with it. I think it’s a great idea. Really practical. And it’ll be easy to record it on Solo Expenses, though we’ll have to think about what category to put the price of the pumpkin in. Will it be ‘food ingredients’ or ‘activities’, do you think? Hmm, it makes you think, being a diligent expense manager. I’m not sure how to categorise a dual-purpose pumpkin.”

“That’ll be the least of your worries, Dad,” said Ollie. “Keeping this one in check with that knife will be more important.”

“Not at all. I’m in charge of the knife, and Alice will be on spoon duties. These bad boys have a lot of seeds in them, and we shan’t be eating those. You’ll get them out with the spoon, won’t you Alice?”

Look! It’s Grandad!
Ollie and Jack left them alone, and when he checked on progress over an hour later he found one bowl full of pumpkin flesh, another of seeds, and a pumpkin carved into nothing that looked anything like his father. Alice pointed to it. “Look! It’s Grandad,” she said. Ron gave a shrug and looked at Ollie, who agreed that it was just like his father.

Alice added to the explanation: “I’m going to be in the blog because we’re not having candles, so I don’t burn myself, and Mummy’s going to say so. We’re going to have our pictures taken as well,” she said proudly.

“Are you indeed,” said Ollie. “What about me? Do I get my picture taken?”

“Oh yes,” said his daughter. “Grandad says you can have your picture taken eating the soup.”

“Does he?” said Ollie, looking at his father. “Does he indeed? And will he have his picture taken eating the pumpkin soup as well?”

“Well, I’d love to, son, but your mum’s at our house cooking a chicken dinner for us. Be a shame to let her down, after all that effort. Anyway, I’ve never liked pumpkin soup…”

“All the more for us, Daddy,” said Alice.