Meet my table. I long to be reacquainted with it desperately.
We haven’t eaten dinner at the table for days now. It has been Zak Cool’s 9th birthday and the table has been base station for the bucket load of Lego he was given for presents.
I could go into how hectic life is recently but that would be whining and really, it’s been good hectic. The playground at the nearby park has finally reopened. For weeks, my children have been checking in on the operatives working on the site and giving me regular progress reports. In fact, they were allowed to have a go at it by one of the operatives the day before grand opening as he was putting in the finishing touches.
I haven’t been baking as much. The children have been busy with their own schedules with the smaller ones really enjoying their encounters with their school going peers – children whom they don’t normally get to come across during term times. I’ve been informed that the Small Shouty One has acquired quite a gaggle of adoring fans in the form of slightly older girls.
On a personal level, Slaveboy and I have had plenty of couple time together. There have been late night cinema trips (I’m sorry that Dobby died but I don’t get Harry Potter and Ron Weasley makes me feel like a dirty old woman), quick drink and packet of crisps in the pub and even some lazy few hours on the bed catching up on tv programmes with the 7th Wonder sandwiched between us, fast asleep.
My roller derby adventures still carry on. I spend far too much time studying the roller derby rules manual and quietly obsessing about my left thigh which is a bit dicky at the moment. Last night’s derby session was particularly brutal. The supporting coaches decided that they were going to run through the minimum skills drills.
To the uninitiated, excuse me while I bore you with the details. There is a whole long list of minimum skills you have to achieve before you a competition, or in roller derby language, bout ready. There are the various controlled falls you have to master – the one legged knee drop, the two legged knee drop, the baseball style fall, the all fours drop, the 180 degree knee drop and swivel. Do these and then get up and skate within two seconds.
Of course, there are various others skills. My favourite are actually the body hits. After all, roller derby is a contact sport.
My least favourite is the 25 laps in 5 minutes. When I first started roller derby some three months ago, all I could manage was 11 laps in 3 and 1/2 minutes. I died for the last 90 seconds. My second attempt was better, I managed 16. Last night, I got 19 but it wasn’t without the persistent cramp in my left thigh which scuppered my ability to crossover when skating along the curve hence losing me precious seconds.
I also took a rather spectacular fall last night. The skater behind me lost her balance. Before hitting the ground, she had managed to kick her skate into my coccyx and swiped my feet from under me so that I ended up falling on my bum in a jackknife fashion. I tell you what, SniffSnorters, it is times like this when you discover whether you are a fight or flight kinda person cos I got up from that fall pretty pronto and skated off without even thinking twice, it was only fifteen minutes later did I realise that I had fallen on my thumb and it was swollen and purple in colour. I did shrug it off and declared that I only needed one thumb really but I did take some mega dose of homeopathic arnica (you unbelievers of homeopathy, sssshh now or I won’t feed you cake).
I absolutely adore roller derby and the girls involved in my team. The age range is vast, from 18 to mid 40s. Some students, some working, quite a few mothers and all very passionate and friendly. They almost remind me of the midwifery sisterhood I had enjoyed from when I was still practising. Loud, brashy women who photograph their scabs and bruises and publish them on Facebook. Plus, it’s the only social circle I know where it is alright to point and laugh at someone who has fallen down.
So, back to cakes. My wenches (the team) love cake. I made this cake for Tilly and Gemma’s birthday party and it went down really well. I wish I was able to stay on at the party for longer but alas my last train was ridiculously too early so I missed out on witnessing one of the wenches fall into the ornamental zebra grass. She did let me have a look at her grazes at the next roller derby training session though.
The cake I made today was a simple Victoria sponge. I don’t know why but I never seem to make it very often. Maybe because my Mum used to make a wicked one and it makes me miss her a bit too much when I make it. The recipe is simple, just remember to mix well.
8 oz. Butter
8 oz. Caster Sugar
4 eggs, large
1tbsp vanilla extract
8 oz. Self raising flour
-Preheat oven to 160C.
-Find 2 sandwich tins around 8 inch in size. Line the sides and bottom.
-Mix the butter and sugar til soft, floppy, light and fluffy.
-Add eggs, one at a time.
-Add vanilla extract.
-Fold in flour.
-Bake for 35-40 minutes. The times may vary as my original recipe said 25 minutes and that was simply not enough time. Set your timer to 25 and check it.
For the filling, whip to a relatively firm but not curd-like 300ml double cream. Do watch the cream, it does nothing for a while and then it turns within seconds. Spread this on one of the cake, and spread 6tbsp of good quality jam on the other cake. Now whether you have jam on top, or cream on top, I don’t know. Life is too short so do what you want. It’s only cake, people, so save your living-in-a-free-world privilege of navel gazing on something more deserving.