Sunday, 26 February 2012

Blethers - No Man's Land

Nutrition, or ammunition?
The kitchen was a no-go area yesterday. In fact it was no-man’s land. The wife and wean were in residence with Mary Berry’s ‘Great British Bake-Off’ cookbook. I blame her for being banned to the shed without tea or biscuits.

I can now understand where Steven Spielberg got his battlefield inspiration for warhorse. The smoke drifting from the open kitchen windows was in fact sieved flour being shaken with such vigorous intensity that the neighbours called the bomb squad, great clouds of icing sugar wafting across the garden like Sahara desert storms of sugary sweetness, steam from the red-hot kettle and the cake mix being beaten into submission by a device called KenWood, and just as powerfully as a V6 Dolomite Sprint (in-joke!).

At one point I did try to poke my nose through the door only to be greeted verbally with a single syllable uttered with expletive like ferocity. “Out!”

And then came the great unveiling. One sponge. In the time that Greggs can churn out 1,558 Victorian jam sponges, I was greeted with the total output of one Saturday morning’s domestic endeavour. One circular slab of shiny swelling that looked like an orange 1960's Cortina hub cap, with a frosted topping, sparkling under the fogged, splashed and dripping light bulb. It sat there sullenly, the drying rack legs bending ominously under the weight.

Two syllables were uttered this time with a venom to match the earlier command.  “Try it!”

Unfortunately, the tools were in the garage. All I had was the bread knife with the serrated edge. Making it look as easy and as gentle as I could, I sawed at the black edged crust reminiscent of the Black Hand Gang’s feverish pre-MOT chassis welding, humming to cover the sound of serrated grating. After breaking through to the ‘sponge’, the interior mortar-like mix had not yet set. Woe betide anyone who wanted a slice later!

Over the years I have tasted many cremated celebrations of dead cow at so-called burger vans around the rally service areas of countless rallies, the singed slices of dead pig, and rubbery fried chicken embryos wrapped in baps of cardboard and bread rolls fashioned from dead mattresses. I have borne such outdoor catering delicacies with great fortitude in the pursuit of sustenance  and protein, simply to provide the life-sustaining energy and protein to stick at my post and finish the job. A home-made sponge would therefore be a doddle, wouldn’t it?

All this experience was called into play as the first cut of the slice was passed between my lips. Nectar. The provenance of the Gods. Sensory satisfaction. Global contentment in a bite-sized morsel  – all these impressions I tried to convey to the captivated audience of two as I sought to prevent the bile rising in the throat, the gut muscles constricting in obstructive discouragement, and all the while trying to present an outward picture of male rapture and pride.

Such a delicacy would be too good for rebuilding the garden wall. No this was destined for a more profound need. Like ammunition for throwing at government troops in Syria. This would accomplish two objectives, pity and fear. The government troops would take pity on the opposition if they thought this was their basic fayre, while a direct hit from such a well flung sponge would crack a carbon fibre helmet at 100 paces rendering the wearer unconscious.

In fact the design/mixture could be sold to Bernie for F1 barriers at street circuits. Once struck, nothing would move again. It would be a crane job to clear the circuit.

On that basis, I escaped to McConechy’s Tyre Services, which I‘ll tell you about tomorrow.

P.S. Now I know this has little to do with motoring or rallying and we all like a little light reading on Sundays, but I was restricted in my access to domestic premises and the internet yesterday unable to go about my normal business.

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