"Good afternoon. We've come to help! Good God, it looks like a bomb's gone off!" Mo Jones said in surprise, to which everyone looked around to view the scene of piled trays, one still containing a sticky mess of jam and pastry, topped by two fearfully bent knives; large pans, one thick with hardened sauce, and one of cold pasta; and countless used utensils and crockery.
"Oh, I quite agree!" Mrs Payne said earnestly, "Mrs Marr, might you like to start on the washing up whilst we decide what to have for dinner?"
"Not on your life!" Suzanne Marr said sternly, "You do it!"
"Certainly", Mrs Payne said dismissively, and having carefully shoved the pans on a lower shelf out of the way, said brightly "well, that's the kitchen tidy!"
After quite some scavenging for food, Mrs Payne exclaimed with surprise,
"Well I've found something for dinner!" All gathered around as Mrs Payne presented the bounty.
"Sherry?" Suzanne Marr questioned with annoyance.
"Cooking sherry!" Mrs Payne replied with pleasure, to which everyone gave an appreciative murmur.
"Are we to have it in a soup bowl?" Suzanne Marr asked sarcastically, causing Mrs Payne to scrutinise the bottle rather closely, and say with some consideration,
"Oh, I'm sure it is useful for a variety of dishes."
"It's quite certainly vile!" Suzanne Marr said with annoyance.
It was some time later that Mrs Payne exclaimed proudly,
"I told you the sherry was of quality!" pouring the remainder into glasses.
"Yes, well it's too late now, there's not a drop left for cooking!" Suzanne Marr said, passing around a glass to each cook.
Much jollity came to the kitchen following the sampling of sherry, and bounding around the kitchen in an excited game to find dinner, Mrs Payne stumbled upon quite a bounty of a previously undiscovered top-opening freezer. Opening this up much like a treasure chest, the cooks gasped at the bounty. Suzanne Marr exclaimed turkey fillets were perfect for turkey en-croute if Molly Faith might see about some pastry, a request duly accepted. Looking further, Barry Green said he could make a devil of a good sauce from the frozen cranberries, although vegetable accompaniments found them rather lacking, settling for some frozen sprouts that would simply have to do. The mood was cheered by a quantity of frozen fruitcake, which was considered altogether curious, although brightly selected as dessert with custard by Mo Jones. This having been decided, all set to their cooking tasks, principally of defrosting, with Mrs Payne, declared the expert scavenger, taking charge of finding a cold starter and something to drink.
It was some time later with much crashing that Mrs Payne returned from the pantry, exclaiming as she did,
"Look, I've found some more sherry!"
"Cooking?" the busy cooks queried remorsefully, with Mrs Payne replying proudly,
"Oh, I say" was exclaimed quietly my Molly Faith, being quite missed as Mrs Payne continued,
"That's not all! Look!" at which she presented several bottles of sparkling wine, which Mrs Payne duly identified,
"Fizzy!" All were terribly pleased with this, with even Suzanne Marr saying it would make a good match with turkey en-croute. Counting the bottles carefully, Mrs Payne said with concern,
"We have rather a lot here, and it might taste quite fearful." All agreed it would be awfully embarrassing to serve fearful fizzy, to which Mrs Payne ventured carefully,
Next part to be published Thursday 1st November 2012, 12pm UK
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