Wednesday, April 14, 2010


Yesterday Ben went off to a meeting, after spending an hour making some dough. By making, I of course mean constructing and then beating the crap out of, as is the preferred technique for the domestic god/ess. After the ritual flogging, he carefully laid its beleaguered body in a tin, shrouded it in a tea towel, and left it in the grill part of the oven, warmed from underneath by the main part.

(Or something. I was clearly too busy anthropomorphizing to pay attention to the actual procedure.)

Then he left me some basic instructions. I started to write them down, but stopped after a while, thinking to myself that of course I could remember basic instructions. I am not a child, I thought. Or a fool.

Confident that his basic instructions had been heard, Ben kissed me goodbye and sailed off into the bright afternoon, bike wheels spinning off over the cobble stone alley. Overcome with enthusiasm, I leaned out of the window and waved, blowing kisses at his retreating, be-hatted form.

Then I settled happily back down to carry on writing my song, picking up my blue guitar from where it was reclining on the bed next to my cello.

I had been recording for most of the day, pausing only to whoosh out to my friend's house for coffeegossip. I was into the music, into the song I was writing. Time ebbed. Hey, I thought to myself after a while, I'm on a roll.

An alarm bell went off in the deep recesses of my brain. Roll!

The bread!

Panicked, I hared down the stairs, terrifying the cat (who had been keeping a safe distance from the singing-y playing-y horror of the bedroom). I threw open the grill door. Plucking the bread from where it was cowering, I shoved it mercilessly into the fiery belly of the hot oven.

Blithely I trotted back upstairs.

I carried on working as the house became infused with the smell of baking bread, like the walls themselves were rising.

On and on, I played and sang. Recorded and re-recorded, gazed out of the window and scratched, scraped, squawked and plucked. Time trickled by and any instructions, basic or otherwise, sank deeper into the quicksand of my mind.

Days passed. (Probably.)

I wandered downstairs a while later, thought for a bit, then texted Ben.

"How long do I leave then bread in? X"

Beep beep.

"Check it after half an hour. X"

I felt a basic instruction bob to the surface.

Looked at my watch. Fifty minutes had gone by.

I flung open the oven, and smoke billowed out over my horrified face.

The cat sniggered.

I grabbed the oven gloves and pulled out the poor, deceased doughnomore. It was not the bread that was causing the billowing smoke plumes. It was, in fact, the tea towel that I had neglected to remove from atop the bread before committing it to its 240 degree hell.

I set it on the rack (it shuddered at the prospect of more torture) and peeled the black rag from its crispy skin.

Some of the rag remained.

Later, when Ben arrived, he was carefully kind. We might, he suggested, have started a new trend! Fluffy bread! It's edible, he insisted, we can just cut the top off! It's fine, he lied, I think it's quite sweet.

I went to lie face down for a while, while the cat guffawed into his non-fluffy biscuits. Next time, I suspect, the basic instructions will be given to him.

We had cereal this morning.