Verity’s away so I was able to do what I wanted to this weekend, or at least, I didn’t have to do what Verity wanted me to do. I realise that makes me sound a bit wet, that I let her bully me into doing things, but it’s more that she makes me do things that I half want to do myself but just don’t have the courage.
Anyway, today’s task I wanted to do even without help from Verity. The OH had recovered from his concussion enough to go to some football match, which left me to my own devices. When the children were at home, they were constantly eating, and their friends were forever dropping round and they too were constantly eating. So it became a habit to bake at the weekend, the smell of warm cookies and cake wafting through the house and lingering pleasantly into Monday morning. I slowed it down a bit once George headed north, because it seemed to be his friends that ate the most, but I realised last night that not baking last weekend (admittedly because I had indulged in an alcoholic frenzy) had left me feeling as though something was missing. So once the OH had left the driveway, I loaded up the dishwasher, turned on the oven and set to beating sugar and butter with a passion.
I got so carried away with my task, imagining that I was making cakes for Simon Cowell, who kept asking what my X-factor was and why they were so delicious, that I nearly dropped the tray of freshly baked peanut cookies when Delyth suddenly appeared in the kitchen.
“Sorry, didn’t mean to startle you, but there was no answer at the front door, so I came round the back.” Her cheery face did look genuinely apologetic.
“Oh, no matter, I was miles away,” I told her.
She looked admiringly around the kitchen at my array of goodies. “Are you getting ready for a party or something? These look amazing, and there’s so much!” If eyes really did come out on stalks, hers would have done.
I explained that it was habit more than anything else, but Delyth wasn’t prepared to let it drop.
“I’ll just try one of these,” she said, and before I could even try to protest, she’d stuffed most of a blueberry streusel slice into her ample mouth.
There was silence for a moment and then a slightly suffocated “Wow!” as Delyth attempted to speak without losing any of the contents of her mouth. She chewed and swallowed a bit more, and then said, “That is seriously good. How do you manage to cook food like that and stay so slim? You’ve got to let me have a taste of something else!” She picked up a lavender scone, sniffed it and said, “I bet this goes better with a hot drink. Coffee, white, two sugars,” and promptly sat down.
I wasn’t sure whether to be offended about the way she took over in my kitchen or complimented on my cooking, and put the kettle on while I thought about it.
“So, I just wanted to pop round and say thanks for looking after me the other day, you know, when the leccy was off and I was freezing for want of a hot drink, and I brought you these,” she said, and held out a box of Tesco finest biscuit selection. “Though they seem a bit pathetic compared to what you do. Ever thought of going into business?”
Now, Delyth may barge around as though the world is her own personal oyster but she’s some sort of saleswoman, and no, I don’t mean telemarketing. She’d told me all about it earlier in the week and I hadn’t taken in all the details but I did get the message that she earns more than her husband. Before commission. So I had to ask.
“Go into business? Seriously? Me?” I tried to snort slightly so that if she had just been saying it, the way some people do, I wouldn’t look stupid and we could pretend it was all a joke.
But she hadn’t just been saying it. “If you look at some of the rubbish people shove in their mouths, they’d be mad not to eat these. You should do a few sample packs, sell them through the village shop and see how they go. I can help you with some of the business side of it if you like.”
I have a definite recollection of friends who went into business together and it all went horribly wrong and then they weren’t friends anymore. But Delyth and I aren’t friends to begin with, just neighbours. So what do I have to lose?
“Okay. What do I do first?”