I know now I’m a non-Jewish male

Brent Cross, paparazzi, knickers and my dream kitchen - my Channukah tale had it all

By Tracy-Ann Oberman, January 7, 2010

Braving Brent Cross is not something I do often. The last time I was there, I was traumatized by being photographed by paparazzi in the knicker department of John Lewis, holding up a pair of giant tummy tuck knickers.

I was readying myself for the National TV Awards, and I had the vain hope that I could squeeze into the Vivienne Westwood dress I had been given.

This time, I had an afternoon free and thought I’d pop down and buy some early Chanucah gifts for my daughter and her friends. Organised of me, I know. Mr Oberman couldn’t believe it either. I’m known as Mummy Muddle in our house.

I was delighted to find that the Early Learning Centre had a good selection of house-ruining goods, like indelible poster paint and playdough which can’t be vacuumed.

Suddenly, I was brought to a halt. In front of me was the kitchen I had always dreamed of. Alright, it was two foot high and the taps didn’t work; but that aside it was perfect. Country pine painted in a light pastel pink, butler sink, cute little cupboard with shelving, an integrated double oven and a self-closing upper drawer.

If not me, then my little girl had to have it. She must learn the joys of cooking early, I reckoned, and not end up like Mummy Muddle on Celebrity Masterchef burning the chicken kiev.

I paid up and organized delivery. Which they duly did the night before Channukah. Mr O smirked and asked, ‘What is that flat box?’

‘Er, it’s the kitchen. Don’t tell me it has to be built! I thought they’d deliver it whole’.

‘Well don’t look at me, I’m Jewish’, he announced, looking at the returns form.

No! I wasn’t having it. My girl was going to have that kitchen for Channuka.

I looked at him imperiously: ‘I.WILL.BUILD.IT.’

Through tears of laughter he reminded me that I can’t even change the time on the alarm clock .

‘It’s a child’s kitchen. How hard can it be?’

With no help from him I opened it up in the hope that I would be finished within the hour.

Blimey. What came out of that box was unbelievable. I swear I could have put a NASA rocket together in less time. There were hundreds of nuts, washers, bolts and screws.

And the instructions were written by a mad man.

I started at 8pm. By 9pm I had called our friendly Polish builder who was out clubbing and incoherent. By 9.30, my mother’s very lovely boyfriend Mickey came over and we started in earnest.

I don’t know what came over me but I discovered some inner DIY-male-from-Wisconsin. By 9.45 I was screwing bits of plywood together like I’d been building kitchens all my life. Mr O and Mum’s boyfriend stood, speechless.

I had officially become a Non-Jewish Man.

I had spanners and hammers and screwdrivers in pockets and behind ears, nails in corners of mouth - and I invented a one handed wrist action on a tape measure that I might patent.

At 11.30pm, with the sweat pouring from my brow, I turned that kitchen on its feet and received a round of applause.

Mr O is buying me a white van for our anniversary.

Last updated: 3:57pm, March 25 2010


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