All fingers were crossed for the first barbeque of 2015 - toes too if I'm to be completely honest. I was quite sure Sinead, who knows an awful lot, would know how to check if there was sufficient gas in the cylinder.
`Haven't a clue,' she said and went to Google the problem before re-appearing with a jug of hot water which she carefully poured down the side of the mysterious receptacle. As she did so she said with some authority that the gas level would be obvious because the empty portion would not retain the heat as well as the remainder of the vessel - or vice versa; she had forgotten which. But after several attempts it was not obvious to either of us.
The husband stood nervously at a short distance, making encouraging noises. An hour or two later when she had gone off to collect Patrick from somewhere on the perimeter of the city, I firmly began to marinate spare ribs. At this stage the husband maintained I had just told him the cylinder was at least one third full which of course I had not said at all. Sensing disapproval he then wisely disappeared to sort out some urgent paperwork upstairs muttering that I could be a bad tempered bitch at times.
I added chicken pieces and sausages to the marinade and sent up a few short prayers to God on whom I regularly call at such times. I fancy that because I spent a number of growing up years attending Mass at Our Lady Of The Immaculate Conception Church in Northfleet, Kent on a regular basis He does listen reasonably attentively. And I always apologise for the somewhat less devout intervening years. And so it was on this occasion - He listened! There was indeed enough gas in the bottle, the sun remained shining, we were not deluged with insects and the spare ribs were quite delicious.
Fresh from the centre of London, Sinead thought we should have another BBQ before she departs and we all agreed.