Today, despite feeling ropier than a hangman’s noose, I helped to build a barbecue.
It wasn’t just your common or garden barbecue, mind, but an absurdly complex gas-powered one with about eighty screws and about twenty pages of (bad) instructions. Despite that, and the oppressive, muggy atmosphere, Mel’s dad and I pieced it together in his back garden without too many problems.
Curiously – and I’m really not just saying this – the food tasted all the better afterwards. There’s something to be said for a good feed after a hard couple of hours’ work, and perhaps also something for it to be cooked on something you’ve helped to build. We all ate, drank and enjoyed some good conversation, and a wonderful late afternoon/evening was had by all.
The smell of other barbecues in the neighbourhood were wafting over the fence as we departed for home with a tired James in tow, proof we weren’t the only ones to have a similar idea (though I doubt many others spent a couple of hours or so building theirs). I’m not quite sure why cooking food outdoors is one of the first thoughts on everyone’s mind as soon as we get a nice, sunny weekend; perhaps it’s an inbuilt instinct kicking in, a way of celebrating our ancestry. Obviously, we have to pretend we’ve done the hunter/gatherer part – well, we did have to drive all the way to the butchers to pick up the meat – but we can at least do the bit where we start a fire to char it to a blackened husk.