It's 22.32 and I'm waiting for a sponge cake to attain that perfect, illusive golden brown. It's a birthday cake for our eldest son. Earlier this evening, I asked him, 'Will you have time for cake before you go out with your mates tomorrow night?'
'Oh, yes - can I have an Edinburgh Castle cake?'
Where in the name of heaven did he get that idea?! I'm by no stretch of the imagination a Delia Smith. I bake plain sponge cakes, sandwiched together with butter icing (if there's time) or jam (if not). I've been known to make cakes in the shape of single numbers, but this guy's TWENTY tomorrow. There will be one cake. A round one, and the closest it'll come to Edinburgh Castle is an uneven surface! There will be no bagpipes, and no Tattoo. (Maybe I could find some tartan ribbon in my
lunch-hour tomorrow, though?)
The heroine of Allison Pearson's, I don't know how she does it, distresses bought Christmas mince-pies so that no-one knows she didn't bake them. I don't do that - I just distress myself.
It's like this. I work full-time and a few years ago, I did a PhD part-time, at the same time. My contemporaries might think I'm nuts, but they do have the insight to imagine what the experience might have been like. On the other hand, people older than me are grudgingly impressed, but I'm afraid they think I'm a selfish parent for doing it. After all, their generation didn't work while raising children, let alone work AND study. So, to atone for the neglect that I imagine other people suspect, I try to do the things that a stay-at-home mother might do. And I bake birthday cake at 22.32. How could I not?
|More Norwich than Edinburgh!|
I can't help thinking there's a flaw in the argument somewhere, but I'm too tired to work it out, Doctor of Philosophy or not!