It started well. The hell of moving house again for the third time in as many years was already being shoved into the Do Not Open file in my head. We got gas instead of oil. We got double glazing. We got somewhere for the basketball hoop. And for the first time in nine years - we got a walk-to-able bus stop. All this and no more stairs. No need to worry about my retirement bungalow - I'm already in it. I have angels singing in my ears. And they sound like The Supremes.
I am Madame Bakeybuns. Homemaker, chummy mum and smiley neighbour. Oh yes.
You see, I got all enthusiastic about making jam - cheery floral pinnyesque activity if ever there was. But not in my kitchen. I had been tempted by the fruits of my new garden and lured into the Devil's trap. An abundance of damsons dripping onto the football's domain had me at hello. Yet I averted my gaze, resisted, bound by the weight of boxes to unload and innumerable grouping allen keys to categorise, but before I fully understood what lay ahead, there, poised like Margot Fonteyn, was my deluded little plump self atop a wobbly step ladder with a foolishly large mixing bowl gathering in the harvest. Dear gods... I can just imagine the wholesome bloom of Laura Ingalls Wilder on my cheeks. Roving Blade and I even spread out the bounty on the grass to let all the wee spiders and bugs escape. Just darling.
That was Friday evening. Feckless Friday. Put the bugless bowl on the dining table and wandered off. Got distracted. Got late. Got the morning to do it - it'll be fiiiiine...
Still-Keen-but-Strapped-for-Time Saturday. No problem. My good 93-jars-so-far-this-year jam-making buddy had filled my head with dizzying delights of not stoning those teeny ol' damsons but simply straining them after cooking so I hurled 'em in me biggest pan and dreamt of luscious purpley goo. I'm so Mumsy I should write a blog. Roving Blade was busy being all Dadsy putting in a cat flap in the hardest wood door ever known to man... and woman, (when he got fed up), and child, (when I got nowhere), and another child.. and another... I think even the cats had a go out of embarrassment. Still retaining my sunshine state in between futile sawing and holding things still while males drilled and screwed, I picked rosehips. I may have hummed... Detached my left thumbnail deseeding half the bastards before remembering I was bound for the carefree ways of the muslin strainer. One nonchalant plop and I skipped off to look for the muslin. I've got tons of this stuff. Tons of it. Not a bit. No matter I'll use a sieve and a j-cloth, like Madame 93-Jars does. Except my sieve is small, hookless and just plain shite. My j-like-cloths don't appear to have holes either. 'I AM READY!' I just need to wash, pack, get dressed, find shoes, pack for the boys, feed the cats, find the cats, post 'em through the flap a few times, feed Snake Boy, run through the door-locking/cat-feeding/cat-posting/microwaving (not cat related) instructions again, lecture Minx about buses and alcohol and mad money for an escape cab.. 'Of course I'm not still fucking about with jam!..' Fucking shoes... Which shoes?.. All of them. Let's go.
Ooh a whole evening away. Just the two of us. A party. A hotel. Complimentary biscuits.... Which offspring shall we worry about first? The one we've abandoned in the house alone, the one who's got on a bus and is staying over at some stranger's party, the one with the funny bottom billeted with Nanny or the shouty sweary smaller one who Nanny might just evict? I should have put the sugar in the gloop. I hope it'll wash off the pan ok. I meant to put the sugar in. If I'd stoned them first I'd have put the sugar in. 'Of COURSE I'm ready.' Just got to do me lippy and find shoes. Shoes...
Seriously-Sodding-Around-Sunday. Text Snake Boy to get up. Criminally speedy hotel breakfast. Find the friends' house. Confess we hadn't bought him a birthday present. Mumbled about the jam taking longer than planned. Anxious texts to Snake Boy's football coach - how's it going? Only his second league game with this new team - scored four last week, how can he follow that? The answer - by scoring five. Roving Blade's chest puffs up another few inches. Pick-ups, thank yous, blow-by-blows, half-cooked pizza pile up, a fast turnaround, proper bloody bovver boots back on (thank fuck), further boy abandonments and a still-alive Minx and I are clapping away at the ice gala (that she should be in but for her gucky toes and a heady social summer). Whoop whoop - let's get home - the damsons are in distress. I'm sorry. It just popped out. Yes at last - fun and frolics dun ticked - back to the eternal slotted spooning and hand-squeezy stoning saga. I could feel my shoulders stiffening, my spine fusing, my neck petrifying... whilst seeing my hands turn from red to purple to black. I'm definitely ditching any stoopid ideas about joining the WI now. They must be mad bitches. At least I got to chuck in the fucking sugar. Shame I'd forgotten to weigh the goop. Chuck in a bit more sugar to make sure. Only got muscovado - fuck it. Squeeze in some lime juice for extra pectin. And a bit more sugar... Oh for for fucks sakes go to bloody bed.
Murderous Monday. But by the dimming light I finally get to turn up the heat. Get to herd the viscious mass into jars. Halleflappingluyah! Need more jars. Lidless from the recycling bin. Exploding jars. For fucks sake let the torture end...
Talk-to-the-Hand Tuesday. I'm busy. You there, you sticky pots, you butter-wouldn't-melt sticky bastard pots - you can just sit there and think about what you've done.
Thrombosis Thursday. How many different fabrics do you need for these damned lids? Just how long does it take to stick bloody labels on bloody jars? How many lightbulbs does it take to think up a stoopid name for this glop? Dambuster Jam? Jambuster Damn. Dammit Jammit... As ever, The Silent Assasin leaves his mark, undetected by the human eye. Little Rock Godling, as he was once known, decided to help out.
I now have ten jars of Bum In Face awaiting the new neighbours' pleasure.
This doesn't seem to happen on The Great British Bake Off. They knock up a nifty blob of jam for a signature sponge in about ten minutes.