Domestic She Devil

As a woman in her early 50s I have heard many of my contemporaries companionably share how relaxing it is to be ‘comfortable in your own skin’. I tell them I agree with them but at the back of my mind is a little voice saying “Here’s an example of you not being comfortable in your own skin, you’re agreeing with her, don’t agree with the woman, you are always questioning yourself and the way you do things, you’ll never be comfortable in your own skin”.

This is not meant to be a moan, I just wonder whether these women are perfect, never make mistakes, always get things right or is it that they still get it wrong but they just don’t care any more? If so, I envy them.

I have had a very upsetting week, I won’t go into it in this blog as levity and sveltness are my aims. One day I may write something amusing about it but for the time being I will just impart the information that I have met a lady who has impressed me very much with her ability to focus on the right thing to do. She is concerned only for her children, husband and home and never says a bad word about anyone unless forced to do so. Once I would have been bored by such a woman but now I see that these are the most important things in life. So, in another attempt to be what I am not, I decided to become “A Domestic Goddess”, not in the Nigella sense of the word although from behind we share an uncanny resemblance. No, I mean more the “earth mother” type of goddess.

Yesterday I tried to shop without going to the supermarket. Where do you buy Frosties? Washing powder? Special K chewy bars? OK so I didn’t quite manage it but I did go to the butcher for my meat, checking that he knew where it had been farmed and slaughtered. I went to – stretching a point here – M&S Food for my line caught haddock, and the local farm shop where I bought my veg but was disappointed to find that it was exactly the same as the veg in the supermarket ie from Egypt, Holland etc and hardly any of it was local. We do have a PYO farm so I may don my wellies and trudge up there next time, but then again…

Today, scorning the shops, I planned home made bread and biscuits. We have a bread maker but I have let the habit of making bread every day lapse. So I got out the book to remind me of the recipe and shovelled the ingredients into the tin while Mavis was eating her breakfast. I set the bread maker to Medium Loaf and rapid bake and set it off before taking her to school, late and with shamingly muddy shoes. The bread would take 2 hours.

I cleaned the floors and tidied the kitchen, waiting for the lovely yeasty, homely smell to fill the house.

Beep, beep. It was ready. Feeling a warm glow of domestic triumph and contentment I lifted the lid and peeped in. Where was my loaf? I stood on tiptoe and looked further down. There it was, at the bottom, 2 inches high, the top a sad and pasty white. I turned it out; the sides, at least, were the right colour. I bore it into the office to show it to Whizz who pronounced it a dead ringer for one of Terry Pratchet’s Dwarf fighting breads.

Well, judge for yourselves. Here it is:

Note the metal paddle protruding from the top of the 'loaf'

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