Saturday, March 08, 2008

Cats, cake and other profound thoughts

I’m sure there was no mystical significance to my dream about my dad, by the way. I’d been thinking about him and feeling a bit sad and this no doubt translated into my dream. He was a difficult man in many ways – very brilliant but not very empathetic and not, in our later relationship, very huggy. But when I was a little girl he was great fun. He made up stories and drew funny pictures and invented words and phrases that have stayed part of our family lexicon. A “fluggy”, for example, is a generalised word for a mythical animal of the monsterish variety, and “wurfles” is another useful term for any part of one’s anatomy (eg “I have a pain in my wurfles”). Even when he was dying in a geriatric ward, he still had that spark at times. At one point the nurses tried to get him walking with a Zimmer (walking frame) and he would say, “They had me Zimming around the ward today.”

When are we truly ourselves? Is the twenty-year-old person, full of health and vigour, the real us? Or the slightly creakier but possibly wiser forty-year-old? How about the sixty-year-old, the eighty-year-old? Ah, questions, questions…

Daughter 2 and her actor boyfriend are in Pickering, Yorkshire, for a non-stag weekend. (A stag party is a party for the groom and his friends in advance of the wedding. But this is a weekend for male and female friends, hence a non-stag party. The groom has an ambition not to spend the weekend naked, tied to a lamp-post.) Daughter 2 and actor boyfriend were out on Thursday evening and when they came back, she decided to make a cake for the event, which began the next day. She is known for her cakes.

It was chocolate, iced with chocolate butter icing, and then they made a road sign for the top – based on the one warning motorists of deer, but with a line through it. If this version existed, it would mean “No deer permitted”. (I have no idea whether any of this is self-evident to non-British people. Or even non-mad people. And I never know how carefully you're reading. No deer = non-stag. Yes?)

It was a work of art. (Daughter 2 is an architect. ) The kitchen became very sticky. So did they. Daughter 2 changed into the bottom half of her pyjamas for some reason connected with stickiness.

It was one in the morning before they finished it, put it in a cat-proof plastic box and went to bed.

By breakfast time, our son had left a little note on the box.

(He was joking.)


  1. Your daughter did a great job. I can understand why she's known for her cakes.

  2. That no deer cake is AMAZING! I think your son was very restrained. Questions questions. I know what you mean. I like to think I am evolving. Hmmmm. A work in progress.

  3. 'The groom has an ambition not to spend the weekend naked, tied to a lamp-post.'- well what a wuss!

    'Wurfles' is just great!

  4. I had an instant of horror till I read that he was only joking. Then I laughed and laughed...

  5. No deer,
    Oh dear.
    Surely thet could do
    With a buck or two?

  6. Ah, I must meet your daughter so we can talk cake! My First Born demanded a Tutenkhamun cake a couple of years ago. Took a whole weekend and was a work of art if I do say so myself. We had a non-stag night too - the night before we got married we went out with various male and female friends. It was dubbed a Hag night.

  7. An incredible cake and an incredibly lucky joker of a brother. I can't imagine the consequences of him tasting it!

  8. Oh, there she is, that lovely girl! All this and cakes too!

    This reminds me, I haven't made a cake in ages. I'll shock my family.

    I was recently thinking, that if I went back to when I was 18, that was the real me, in essence. I was who I am then, though the ideologies and outer shell have changed, I was me then. I'd like to say I have gotten wiser, but perhaps have not always been true to that self.

    Maybe now I am.

    Hmm. None of that makes sense.

    Do you think D2 might make ME a cake? guess what my birthday is this year: 08/08/08. Best she prepare to make an eight-cake. Then eat it for me!

  9. What a very professional looking cake!
    I can imagine the consternation on seeing the note!

  10. Wonderful cake, love the note. I had lots of dreams like the one you had about your dad just after my mother died, they were both very comforting and very upsetting. Take care

  11. The cake looks so yummy. A non-stag weekend is so much more original than ending up naked somewhere that is so 'yesterday'! Hope they had fun.

  12. Thank you for the no deer = non stag thingy. I got the part about the line through it meaning no deer. But since I'm only running on 1/2 octane today, it would have taken me longer to get that equation. Beautiful cake! Talented daugther!

    At what age ARE we who we are??? I would have said 18 or 20, but I wasn't a mother by then and being a mother is a huge part of who I am. So, I'll have to go with 26. Who I am today was mostly there then if that makes sense. And you asked the question -- what is YOUR answer?

  13. You daughter is very talented!!

    no wonder you had tears in your eyes when you wrote about the dream of your father.

  14. Wow, what a cool cake! I can't even write neatly with frosting when I try to write a birthday wish on a cake.

    I'd say we are most ourselves when we are older, but not yet in decline. I know I grow more and more every year (on the inside, not the outside...mostly).

  15. She absolutely deserves her cake reputation. And I see your son will have an engaging doctorly bedside manner.

  16. I would vote for the 60 yr. old being the real person, with the 20 yr. old and the 40 yr. old incorporated therein!

  17. Your son has a great sense of humour! And your daughter is sure talented. My daughter #2 loves to bake and makes the MOST delish chocolate chip cookies!

  18. Your family has such a great sense of humour and the cake is quite a masterpiece :)