Monthly Archives: May 2014

If I knew you were coming…

I love cakes.   I think cakes are the best.   The things I would do for a fresh cream horn don’t bear mentioning.  If there was a danish pastry 100 metres away and I was standing next to Usain Bolt then I’d get there before him (and probably be licking the crumbs from my fingers before he arrived).  Did I say that I like cakes?

I was having a discussion about cakes recently, one of those abstract conversations that tend to happen when you’ve been driving too long without human contact and so you pounce on the first caller.   After meandering through the jam donuts and the gaily coloured Battenburg we finally alighted on the ultimate piece of food, the fruit cake.

Not any fruit cake but the booze riddled, iced, marzipanned behemoth that masquerades as a wedding/Christmas cake.

There is a tradition in the UK (this may be true everywhere) that the top layer of the wedding cake is kept back and not cut until the christening of the firstborn child.    I thought here that I would provide a handy little statistic saying that the average time a cake lays waiting is x years, but the internet has failed me.   In fact, the average age for a woman to give birth to her first child is 29 and the average age of a woman getting married is 32.5, so the cake would be -2.5 years old.   I think it might have to be called an uncake.

Never mind.  It is still tradition and we can pretend that the top layer of cake is going to be in a tin under the bed for at least 12 months (even if you are the most rapid christener in christendom).     This got us thinking.   Whilst your cake is waiting to be consumed could there be other uses for it?

My first thought was that the cake could be used to fashion an emergency exit in case of fire.   My type of  fruit cake has a density similar to that of a small sun.    Kept on a window ledge it would be a simple thing to cast the cake through the window (or wall for that matter) and hey presto you have a cake shaped hole ready for egress.

If you were thinking that you may be having twins as your first born then you may well plan ahead and have two top layers of the cake.   With a bit of lateral thinking, these would make fantastic book ends that are also a lasting memento of your big day.  You could have the little plastic bride at one end and the little plastic groom at the other.   Once the twins are born your married life will have gone to pot anyway so you will be glad to get rid of the bloody things at the christening.

Bits of fruit cake could easily be fashioned into brake blocks for a bicycle.    This would actually have two benefits.  Aside from the undoubted additional stopping power achieved, every time you slowed down there would be a lovely smell of re-cooking cake to assuage your hunger.   Carrying spare cakebrake blocks (as I think they should be called) would mean you also had an emergency supply of high energy food should you get stuck up a mountain with no patisserie nearby.

My recipe for Christmas cake involves starting cooking just after we come back from the summer holidays.   The recipe seems to have been written on parchment with a quill by what I fondly imagine to be an old and slightly befuddled cook from around the time of Robin Hood.     The best part of it is that I have to feed the cake with Brandy every week.   We all know that drinking alone leads to all sorts of problems so it is essential for the health of the cake that I join it with a glass.

Just as an aside.  The only English monarch ever to be given the epithet of “The Great” is also the only English monarch who is associated with cakes.   That can’t be coincidence (although there is an argument that after burning the cakes he should have been Alfred The Grate).

There are some good superstitions that go with cake.   My personal favourite is that of the burial cake.   Again this should be a mighty monster of a cake and it is kept near to the head of the dearly departed.  Those who come to pay their last respects should keep a piece of cake in their mouth whilst viewing the deceased.   I would like to state now that any cake found near my body is mine and should be buried with me.

The daily prompt today asks what is our guilty pleasure.   Need I say more?

 

 

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Getting on with it

“I never see what has been done; I only see what remains to be done”.

That’s what Buddha said.  He said a lot of wise things but I’m not putting that one at the top of my list.   I’m quite happy to see what has been done.  Let’s rephrase that.  I’m sometimes astonished at what has been done (an not necessarily in a good way).

The daily prompt asks what is our favourite daily ritual.  I reckon anybody who says anything other than “going to bed” is having a laugh.   Can there possibly be anything more delightful than climbing into bed after a long day of doing stuff (and seeing what has been done)?

I love my bed.   I climb in and lay back and review the day.   If I followed the example of Buddha and thought about what was to be done tomorrow then I’d still be awake when it is time to get up (although regular visitors  may remember this) and that would never do.   The problem is that during my slumbery (I know, it’s not a word yet.   It will be one day) recollections I remember the bad bits rather than the good bits.   I never close my eyes and think “I did a bloody good job there”, it’s more a case of “Oh lordy, why on earth did I say that?”.   It is ridiculous.   It is the mental equivalent of recording a really good film on TV and then fast forwarding through everything except the adverts.

I sometimes read.   Reading relaxes the troubled soul (I bet Mark Twain or someone similar has a great quote along those lines if only I could expend enough energy to go and look in my Oxford book of famous quotations).    I like a book.  I did try reading on my remarkable tablet thingy but it just doesn’t work for me.    With a book I can gradually nod off and let the literature tumble to the floor.    The tablet is certainly robust enough to cope with cascading off the bed but it tends to fall instead onto my chest.  It has this thing whereby it watches your eyes to see if you are looking at it and it senses movement as well.   A very clever idea but what actually happens is I wake up, roll over and the tablet thinks we are ready to go another few chapters so it wakes up as well.   As it has frequently managed to work its way under some part of the bedding (or on one unfortunate occasion the cat) there suddenly appears a ghostly glow and I have to seek it out and turn it off.   It was quite funny when it lit up the cat though.   You haven’t lived until you have seen an illuminated cat anus.

If a book isn’t to hand then a magazine will do.   The Sunday papers come with enough stock to keep me in late evening reading for most of the week.   There’s a problem with this as well though.   I will read part way through an interesting article on something like how Kim Kardashian is liberating children caught up in war torn Syria and doze off.   When I decide to return to the piece later on the magazine has gone.   Honestly, you would imagine that anything lying on my side of the bed was my property until returned to the proper place but it seems that this isn’t the case and half-read papers are fair game to be removed somewhere else.

Never mind though.   I love going to bed.   It is absolutely the best part of day.   Curiously, the second best part of the day is getting up in the morning.   If I could only learn to love the bits in between then I would be a very happy man.

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Filed under Getting old

I’ve got those email blues.

My morning routine has not changed for several years.   At 6:4o there is the pad, pad, thud of the cat coming up the stairs (the thud is because she only has three legs and her back end is rather more ungainly than that of the average cat) followed by the duvet being dragged down as she scrambles onto the bed.   She potters towards the pillows and sits gently on my head, indicating that it is time she was fed.

At 6:45 the alarm goes off (followed by the cat as she leaps to safety) and I reach to turn the alarm off and grab my phone to check the news, email and how poorly I am doing in my latest game of scrabble against a colonial cousin.

I’ve a new phone.   I abandoned the apple flavoured one as it was spending more time on the phone charger than off it.   I now have “HTC one (M8)”.   I thought the M8 might be text speak for the phone being the ultimate best buddy but it turns out that it’s just the one after M7.

New phone is showing that I sent several emails around 1:30 last night.   I don’t remember sending any emails at all.  Certainly not at that time of night, after all, it’s a work night and I think I was fast asleep by that time.    Confused, I checked the contents of the sent emails.   They were all different but along the same lines.   An example of a couple, word for word are.

“Well you might say that, but is it a bad thing? Here I’d a choice: I’m ravaged by illness and I shall be spending my life struggling to breath and will need somebody to help me to the toilet for”

and

“The Soviet presence is probably s fake.   When they landed on the moon they didn’t expect the consequences and so they only took”

The curious thing about both of the above examples are the mistakes.   I have been struggling with the predictive text on the keyboard.  I have frequently sent “I’d” instead of “I’ve” and I am constantly typing “s” instead of “a”, so I suspect that I have, in the middle of night, sleep-typed emails to random acquaintances.   Not only have I sent these emails but the contents are of a somewhat dubious nature.

That’s not the most worrying thing though.   I (or the phantom email writer) has also deleted all of the text messages from the phone.   Every single one of them.    I have phone contacts going back years, both business and personal.   There are about 500 mobile phone numbers stored and there’s just a small chance that I may have sent equally random text messages to random people and then deleted them so now I have a dilemma.   Do I send a text to everybody on my phone saying “Sorry if you got a weird message from me last night” or is that going to be seen as even weirder by anybody who didn’t get a text?

I think I shall just keep my head down.   I think I shall probably turn the phone off tonight and leave it locked in a cupboard somewhere, just in case.

The daily prompt today refers to the worst case scenario, I can’t possibly imagine what the comeback from the wraith of the phone will be, but if you did get a message form me last night.   Can you tell me what it said please?

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