Sunday, 28 June 2009

The Consolations of Sugar Craft

If you had been in Winchester yesterday, you may have seen a slightly tubby lady in badly creased clothes and wet hair, clutching hen-night merchandise, running through the centre of town like an overwrought banshee, trying to catch the London train in order to make a very important chocolate-making appointment. Happily, catching that train gave me (the aforementioned banshee) opportunity to write this blog.

Child-free journeys are the midwives of thought, which probably explains why I have such difficult deliveries these days. And if you haven’t yet asked me why I’ve not responded to your last email or posted a blog of late, then bless you for your impeccable manners and forbearance, and let me summarise thus:

1. Am pregnant and wildly hormonal, so naturally
2. Have just bought a car and decided to move house, then
3. Went to Cornwall on holiday, which was unremarkable except for the fact that
4. My brother was taken into intensive care, resulting in
5. The cancellation of my trip to Vienna tomorrow.

Now all this might sound like the prelude to another moan about the impossibility of holidaying, but as it happens, adversity has instead mustered a creative but somewhat haywire set of reactions. For example, my new asymmetrical haircut (with which I resemble a member of The Human League), and the frenzied organisation of no less than three parties in celebration of the Impster’s second birthday. Not to mention cake.

Last year for her birthday, I bought a cake from M&S and received a very reducing look from one stay-at-home mummy who said 'you know, I simply wouldn't feel right if I didn't make a cake myself'. So this year, rather than suffer a guilty conscience and incitement to murder again, I had a sudden attack of the Annabel Karmels. When my old work buddy, J, phoned and I told her that I was 'in the Entertainer buying In the Night Garden figurines to put on the Impster's birthday cake which I'm planning to fashion into a magical gazeebo.' There was a slight pause, followed by the enquiry: 'Have you had a stroke?'

Only very exceptional circumstances can drive an otherwise sane woman to seek solace in the art of sugar craft. For what can possibly result but yearly spiralling expectations and the potential for significant dental bills? Oddly enough though, taking on such a monstrous task was curiously calming, a bit like making sophisticated chocolate truffles on a hen weekend, when one’s expectations had been raised no higher than half a dozen chocolate penises.

My brother is recovering nicely, and now he’s off the morphine I do wonder whether I might have spent these last few weeks hallucinating in sympathy. All the same, I might knock up a few Viennese biscuits this week. Just as a consolation.