So here we are. The house bears no signs of the diligent attentions of my imaginary housemaid, regrettably. There is a lingering scent of eau de pipi de tortue with a top note of dead rotting hyacinth that says home. The weepette appears to have doubled in size and smells different. I tried to explain this to the CFO, saying it was the same with the children when they went to stay with his parents, but he looked blank and said he didn't sniff the dog. Oscar has apparently been a paragon in our absence, teaching Fatima's dog the path of righteousness, walking on water and healing the sick and lame. On the strength of this, I do not yet despair of teaching him to lay a fire at 5am and prepare my morning tea. Oddly, Scrabblyclaws, as the spawn now call him, appears to have had a manicure at Fatima's, which is a good start to his career in service. I was reading an article in Vogue on the plane about some outrageously fabulous Highland haute couture taxidermist type person who has a French butler in kilt and tartan waistcoat. I think Oscar could carry that off rather well.
I would say I digress, but how can you digress from a post you haven't even really got around to starting? Where was I? Ah yes. We are HOME. The weepette is home. The CFO was immediately commandeered by Fingers to build a giant Lego crane, cruelly gifted by Mamie and Papy, even before he could check the tortoises. The dishwasher, left shut and dirty for a week, has developed its own ecosystem, or possibly circle of hell. The mothbastards are thriving. They seem to have had some kind of moth conference in the kitchen, presumably swapping notes on where to lay the best class of larvae and where the good cashmere as opposed to the M&S stuff, is kept. I have trodden on several Bionicle claws and Fingers has thrown a domino at my head. All is as it should be.
I cannot pretend that everything is kittens and rainbows, which I am sure you will find thoroughly astonishing given my usual relentless optimism. I dropped into the corner shop for supplies earlier this evening; Damien recoiled slightly with what looked like mild disgust and did not even call me 'jolie voisine', which he normally does as reflexively as breathing to anyone under ninety five. I told you, it's been a tough week. I had to buy moisturiser at the 'Sherpa' super-ette and a diet of cocotte minute cabbage, vin chaud and angst is not the obviously skin brightener. The spawn emptied the shower gel down the loo on the first day. My eyelids look like someone has sandpapered them. Every time I stepped in the lift my ninety five year old reflection whispered 'booootooooox' pleadingly back at me.
More importantly I simply do not know what is going to happen. My head is oddly empty. I will try not to make these annoyingly oblique references a recurring feature. Suffice presently to say noone has done anything terrible and nothing is decided or definitive. If I were a pretentious twat, which occasionally I am, I would say we are in a bit of a mezzo del camin/silva obscura type situation. Ok, now someone has to come over and slap me. Hard.
Thankfully, where all else fails, there are feats of extreme baking to accomplish. Nothing, I find, says "I know exactly what I am doing with my life" like coating the entire kitchen in a layer of edible glitter, toothpicks and icing sugar in the execution of impossibly ambitious and ill-advised birthday cakes.,I have twelve eggs and half a kilo of butter. I have my KitchenAid. I have ready made fondant (admittedly several years old and possibly fossilised). I need two cakes by tomorrow evening and I have some inspired suggestions. Will it be:
1. The Women's Weekly piñata cake recipe (referred to by Ali), with its tricky 'chocolate outer shell' detail and hammer bashing potential?
2. Vanessa's 'glitter outline of a parrot and tell him there are crushed up ladybirds in the cochineal food colouring'?
3. Pochyemu's 'Parrot on a mountain of worms/eating them by the mouthful'?
4. "Other" of my own devising (say no say no, the child deserves better than Herman Van Rompuy rendered in flesh coloured fondant)?
If you need any further information on which to base your choice, I give you this: noone will eat the actual cake except me. Only Lashes will eat the icing, and then only if it is water icing (noone likes fondant or buttercream except me). Fingers will pick off and eat any sweets and discard the rest. The less time I spend on stupid cake decoration, the more time I will spend being agonised and miserable. I have poor hand/eye coordination and if it's possible to fuck it up, I almost certainly will.
Go on, give me some ideas. Because last year, Lashes got this, and it tasted even worse than it looks.