Last night I gave Nikki, who incidentally is Fab Friend’s sister, her second baking lesson. Having mastered the delights of lemon drizzle sponge cake and cupcakes with vanilla buttercream icing, we went down the oaty route and created flapjacks – my speciality – and oatcakes.
The flapjacks were an incredible success and are quite possibly responsible for the sugar high that I was still on at 4 o’clock this morning. The oatcakes were less of a success. The first batch, it has to be said, was absolutely revolting. We were so excited and took a massive bite and met each other with mirrored looks of disgust. Naturally, we had to get rid of the taste with a mouthful of flapjack.
Nikki, the eternal baking optimist embarked on the second batch. Not wanting the odd baked porridge taste of the last batch, we cooked them until they were dryer than the Sahara desert and harder than Grant from EastEnders, which rather bizarrely made them more palatable.
The third batch tasted delicious with Comte and chutney and, even though I had very little room, I soon polished off my share. Must go to gym today… although it’s been so long, I might have to ask directions.
And, while we’re on the subject of directions, I get asked them all the time. Which has pros and cons when you don’t hear very well. I was outside Liberty once when this group of painfully shy Japanese school boys came up to me and asked the way to… well that’s the problem – to this day I still have absolutely no idea where they wanted to go, not even an inkling! I tried so hard, but on the third go, they admitted defeat and despite my attempts to convey my deafness, they will probably return to Japan thinking English girls are rude.
Then, on my way back from lunch the other day this lady blocked my path with a rather pained look on her face. She was Russian, I discovered from the ancient dictionary she had in her hand. She pointed to the word Department Store and looked at me expectantly. I named all the famous ones, but not a flicker of recognition crossed her face. This went on, with her blurting out random English words that I couldn’t hear or understand and me trying to guess. After 10 minutes and a lot of thinking, I decided that she might need the toilet… and Bullseye that was it. But unable to say it in Russian, I decided it would just be easier to take her to the nearest one, which was 10 minutes away, and pray she wasn’t as desperate as she looked.
But, in a way, I rather like that people stop and ask me things and, even though I have trouble understanding, some of them are really interesting. The other day I met this elderly couple from Canada who were trying to get to Victoria Station and about to board a bus to Putney – I told them the correct way and we got chatting as I watched three of four of my buses sailed past but I really didn’t mind. And guess what, if I’m ever in the Lake Eerie area, I’ve now got a place to stay!