December MDCCLXXXII Anno Diocletiani
It had been raining for days now, and the junior Llewellyns were beginning to get antsy. Julia reckoned they had, at best, one more day before there was an explosion. As it turned out, she had been rather too optimistic.
Aelwen looked across the table to where her brother was absorbing soft boiled egg and making a noise like a boiling kettle at the same time.
“Rhodri Llewellyn is a very irritating little boy,” she said.
Julia winced ‘irritating’ and ‘boy’ wouldn’t pierce Rhodri’s armour at all. But ‘little’ was pretty well guaranteed to provoke a reaction as Miss Aelwen perfectly well knew.
Rhodri didn’t disappoint, he shouted something unintelligible, but in his mind no doubt deeply insulting, and threw a lump of eggy bread at his sister. She ducked, and, loading her spoon with a dollop of porridge she fired it right into the centre of her brother’s furious face. He yelled and tried to pick up his plate, but Julia was ahead of him.
“We don’t throw plates.”
“But. Mam. ‘Wen throws powwidge.”
“So she did. But didn’t you throw bread first?”
He grinned and nodded. Then, quick as a flash, grabbed the whole boiled egg from its cup and threw it at Aelwen. Because she was no longer concentrating she didn’t duck and the egg hit her on top of her head. The bright yolk ran down over her face and she snarled.
Grabbing her father’s large spoon from his unresisting hand she fired another blob of porridge with just the same devastating accuracy as the first.
Julia removed the honey, butter and spiced milk from their reach, then sat back and let them have at it, stopping Dai from intervening with an upraised hand.
“Let them be, love, they’ve got cabin fever.”
He shrugged and sat back. They had some very simple rules of shared parenting and one was that mealtimes were Julia’s domain.
Freed from restraint the children went at it with vigour. Aelwen’s throwing was much the more accurate, but Rhodri was fuelled by fury and he didn’t mind getting his hands a bit sticky so the fight soon wound down to an honourable draw.
Aelwen was the first to give in, grinning at Rhodri’s red-faced fury.
“Sorry Dri. You are an irritating big boy.”
He stopped scrabbling for something else to throw and his grin nearly split his cheeks.
They turned identical Llewellyn blue eyes on their parents and awaited a verdict on the throwing of breakfast at siblings.
Dai clamped his mouth shut, and Julia realised he was far too close to laughter to be of any help at all. So she beat down the desire to giggle and looked as stern as she was able.