The Thing Is with Steve Canavan - September 11, 2014

GRUB UP A seafood risotto, similar to the one Steve made before burning his hand
GRUB UP A seafood risotto, similar to the one Steve made before burning his hand
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Well, that’s the last time I try and do something romantic.

Mrs Canavan and I celebrated our anniversary the other day.

We’ve been together the best part of a decade, and we’ve seen so much of each other that I’ve grown to almost like her.

Instead of going out for a meal to a restaurant to mark the occasion, I decided it would mean more (and be a hell of a lot cheaper) to cook her a meal at home.

Inspired by the previous week’s Saturday Morning Kitchen, I decided to rustle up a haddock and prawn risotto. Mrs Canavan hates fish, but I love it, and I’m unselfish like that.

It went surprisingly well, and even vaguely resembled risotto when I got to the final stage – to put the pan in the oven for 18 minutes.

When the timer-beeper thing on the oven went off (I like to count down the final 10 seconds with it and pretend there’s a rocket about to take off – I’m having counselling for this, but my psychiatrist says there’s a long way to go yet), I carefully lifted the pan out using oven gloves and put it on the hob.

I shouted up the stairs, ‘dinner’s ready my little sugar puff’, or words to that effect, and she scampered into the kitchen eager to see what I’d rustled up.

‘Ooh, looks nice,’ she said.

‘Yes,’ I replied, then gesturing at the metallic pan handle glowing red with heat, added ‘But don’t touch that pan handle – it’s just been in the oven’.

I rinsed the serving spoon under the tap (a thrilling detail I agree, but I’m building the tension here), then returned to the pan and, for some inexplicable reason, grabbed with my left hand the metallic handle that I’d instructed Mrs Canavan not to touch seconds earlier.

After 18 minutes in the oven it was, as you’d expect, not just hot, but incredibly hot.

I leapt around eight feet in the air, possibly the highest height ever recorded by a man without the use of a trampoline, and used several words Pope Benedict and my mother would baulk at.

‘Oh you silly thing,’ laughed Mrs Canavan, before helping herself to a portion of risotto, expressing her dismay it contained fish, and walking off into the lounge to watch a rerun of The Great British Bake-Off.

I, meanwhile, spent the next 10 minutes in agony, with my hand under the cold tap, quietly sobbing, and finding myself being able to properly sympathise for the first time with the inhabitants of Pompeii when Vesuvius erupted.

A few minutes later she returned holding an empty plate. ‘Lovely that,’ she said. ‘Are you not eating yours?’

‘No, not yet,’ I replied through gritted teeth ‘because I’ve just removed the skin from my left hand by picking up a scaldingly hot pan’.

‘OK,’ she shouted over her shoulder with the air of someone who isn’t really listening, and making no attempt to disguise that fact, ‘well, it’s very nice, you should have some’. The skin on my fingers turned white, and when four hours later I still couldn’t go longer than around 10 seconds without having to dash to the cold water tap to put out the fire on my hand, I decided enough was enough.

Thus it was that on Tuesday evening a very grumpy middle-aged man could be seen entering hospital with his hand wrapped in a damp dishcloth which, I realised while sat in the waiting room, had earlier been used to clean the cat’s litter tray.

The doctors were very nice, assured me I wasn’t wasting their time by entering the A&E department with a very small burn to my hand (I think they were being sarcastic), and wiped it with cooling gel before putting a dressing on.

I got home at one in the morning to find Mrs Canavan fast asleep and a note on the kitchen counter reading: ‘Hope you don’t mind but I ate your risotto – didn’t think you’d want it at this time. Night.’

If I’ve had a worst anniversary, I can’t remember it.

Gohan’s dream date

Upon hearing the word football, it is understandable if folks round these troubled parts turn their noses in the air and growl ‘don’t talk to me about football’.

But don’t worry – this is a Karl Oyston-free zone and even Blackpool supporters, no matter how cheesed-off they are at the moment, couldn’t fail to be cheered by what happened at Spanish club Villarreal the other day.

A 13-year-old boy called Gohan, who suffers from an aggressive form of cancer, had told his hospital nurses that his one wish was to play for Villarreal at their home stadium.

What happened next proved that there is some good left in the sport after all.

The club selected Gohan in the team for a game – a friendly against Scottish champions Celtic.

He changed with the players before the match and played the opening five minutes, during which he dribbled around the Celtic defence (which dutifully backed off) and scored.

All the Villarreal players ran to Gohan and lifted him into the air, while the whole stadium cheered and applauded.

The youngster, who should have cut a sad figure – no hair on his head due chemotherapy treatment – looked ecstatic. He had a smile a mile-wide.

The club put a video of the whole thing on their website. I made the mistake of watching it while at work and came within a whisker of breaking down in tears.

Watch the clip if you can.

It’s a beautiful, heart-warming thing, and maybe something one or two clubs/chairmen in this country could learn from.