There’s great excitement in the Pilling household when Manjit, Jay, Ash and Aran come to visit. We wish we all lived closer by so we could see them more often. But we are delighted that (in non-lockdown times) we probably manage a couple of visits a year.
Preparation is key
Of course, when they come to us there is some unusual thought and preparation required to make sure Ash is well catered for whilst doing our best to make sure he doesn’t feel singled out or different. We rather enjoy thinking about it in advance. Tom and I both love cooking and we don’t mind cooking with a twist, we like the challenge! Happily there are some really straightforward meals one can cook that don’t have any ingredients that pose a risk so we can all eat the same thing together.
Learning new things
In fact, I would say it is thanks to Ash that I learned to braise a leg of lamb, now one of our favourite family meals, so thank you Ash. My daughter Isobel and I also have quite a lot of fun at the health food shop and the Tesco’s ‘free from’ shelves trying to choose what we call “just in case food,” something we try and do for all younger kids who come to visit, so that if they really can’t stand what we have cooked an emergency meal can be pulled together in haste.
To be fair, we don’t need to do this with allergy free food because Jay comes fully prepared with everything, how they ever get out of the house that organised I will never know – very impressive, but we have fun buying rice noodles and everything "free" but still surprisingly tasty biscuits.
Clean, clean and clean again
The other thing that is an absolute must in my house is cleaning the kids toys (although now my kids are older there are fewer toys of course, but we have a small collection in the loft reserved for a Dhanjal visit). I have to now admit to being very bad at doing this regularly and to my shame there is no question it needs to be done for Ash because they are bound to be very dusty. As we clean the toys our excitement grows because we know our friends will be here very soon, and we have missed them and can’t wait to see them all. We look forward to about their visit soon now that lockdown is eased a bit.