Something’s gone awry with the bread-making. My dough, like my unwieldy imagination, has turned into a large and unmanageable child which will not behave. It sucks and reels inside the mixing bowl, and when I dig my hands in to try to knead it ready for the tins, it becomes a clingy, amorphous lump that pulls at my fingers and looks set to take over the world. If not the universe.
“Help!” I yelp.
Of course, there is no-one to help. While I am busy trying to be Mother Earth and produce my own wonderful culinary delights, The Other One is trying to be Father Earth and is fiddling about with the electrics in the front room. Not a good recipe, if you get my drift.
“Don’t worry,” says my inner friend ( a hangover from childhood, or too much Pinot Grigio, I’m not sure which), “Add some more flour.”
I extricate my hands from the goo and sprinkle a little flour onto the blob, turn the mixer back on. Because, yes, I don’t have a bread-maker, I possess an old-fashioned mixer with a dough hook, which was given me by my mother in the year dot. So why, I hear you saying, did you have your hands in the dough at all? Because I like to feel if the dough is the right consistency, and then… Look, that’s just how it is. OK?
After a minute or two, I feel the dough. Still sticky. I followed the recipe. Almost. But, well…I wasn’t exactly wearing my glasses when I weighed out the flour. Not at all wearing them, in fact.
“Idiot!” says my inner friend. Or should that be enemy?
It doesn’t help that I am completing this operation in the half-light. I trot along the corridor and gaze into the sitting room. Father Earth is swaying at the top of a pair of decrepit steps playing with the Earth wires (plus, needless to say, the live and the neutral) of the central ceiling light.
“What’s happened to the lights?” I ask.
“They’re off,” he says. Helpfully.
I return to the Large Child and beat it into submission, forcing it into the bread tins. More goo on the hands, and I’m beginning to wonder if anyone has yet developed a phobia of bread dough. There’s always a first, I guess.
I carry the tins upstairs to fester in the warmth of the airing cupboard and return to make a well-deserved cup of coffee. The Other One is searching for an Edison screw light-bulb to test out the new light fitting. He wants to know if I have one.
“About my person?” I ask. Helpfully.
I haven’t seen an Edison screw light-bulb since almost as long ago as the year I acquired the mixer. But his eyes are lighting up even as I shake my head. Or they would be if there was any light to reflect in them. He wanders off in the gloaming and returns to fit the bulb.
I stand and stare. The light bulb is a pre-dot remnant from the days when The Other One graced the stages of bars and clubs in his capacity as musician and Dee-Jay. The red light makes our sitting room like Amsterdam’s Canal Strasse. And the light isn’t exactly bright.
The next time I peep in (having gone off to place the saggy children in the oven) he is sitting reading the paper with a head-torch on. I think we might have to go shopping for bulbs and bread…
…or maybe not…