Today I did something that I haven’t done for eight years. I’ll tell you what it is later.
In the meantime, I’ve been learning things like the name Geraint isn’t French, but Welsh. Yes I really thought it was French and if I saw it written down I said it in my head with a fancy French accent – durr! Thank you Inspector George Gently for enlightening me.
I now know that crane flies and daddy long legses are two different things and that my poor little Tilly is terrified of them. In fact she’s scared of anything that flies and she’s scared of spiders too poor little soul. The other night when a daddy long legs was doing his noisy thing round the light, she sat first on my head, then burrowed under the duvet where she stayed until I turned the light out and the daddy long legs went to sleep.
Moving on – I now know that shanty men make a lot of noise and you can hear them a long way away and they sound very happy. I’ve seen a Thames barge up close – joy. And I’ve seen the Waverley paddle steamer close too and she was a lot smaller than I thought, but an elegant little lady all the same. I’ve been to a book signing where the queue was out of the door – it was for a book of photographs spanning about 50 years of the town’s history.
I’ve realised that I no longer own a dictionary or if I do, I don’t know where it is. My dictionary used to be my right hand man, always on my desk, used daily. It was an essential piece of kit and now thanks to Google and my laziness he’s all but forgotten.
A week or so ago round at my daughter’s house I saw a huge bowl of fruit soaking in sherry ready for her Christmas cakes. The last time I made a Christmas cake would have been eight years ago.
I used to make one for us, one for my mum and until her death, one for my mum’s friend who was the nearest thing I ever had to a grandmother.
I had no idea coming up to Christmas 2002 that it would be the last cake I ever made for my mum or that there would be some left in her larder when she died in 2003.
That year I didn’t make any cakes. I couldn’t face making just one. In all the years (I started making them when I was still at school) I’d been making Christmas cakes, I’d never made only one. It felt wrong. Besides I didn’t know where my recipe was.
So I started buying Christmas cakes. Blimey they’re expensive aren’t they? I don’t eat Christmas cake myself, but I was told every year that bought ones aren’t a patch on home made. They didn’t last as long either. And the marzipan on bought ones is never thick enough.
I bought the fruit and a bottle of sherry and left it to soak for a week – never mind quarter of a pint of sherry, that fruit damn near saw off a whole bottle. Oh and I found my recipe. Today the fruit was plump and ready and I made my cake. It’s in the oven now. I hope it tastes as nice as everyone remembers.
The making of the cake is significant. I’m not sure why, but it is.
Sorry for another ramble. One of these days I’ll post a proper writerly one and you’ll think you’ve come to the wrong place!