I have a new number.
We all have numbers that mean something to us; its an unavoidable cliché.
They are as crucial to us as the very words that explain their meanings.
Lucky numbers and lottery numbers,
Favourite numbers and phone numbers.
Pin numbers, security numbers, ID numbers and insurance numbers.
Ages, notches, achievements and Facebook friends.
Markers in life and calculations of success.
Numbers confine us and condemn us and liberate us and laugh at us.
They are the statistics that warp the news and the scaremongers that measure time.
Numbers overwhelm us and define us and separate us.
And I have a new one.
There were seven Crème Eggs on the table. (One person had to buy them)
And seven hot drinks in a row. (One person doesn’t like tea.)
There are seven sets of plates in the dishwasher. (One person prefers to wash up.)
And seven people’s hands sign the card. (One person’s name stands apart.)
There are sixteen shoes on the stairs, sixteen ears for the doorbell and sixteen hands in the biscuit tin.
There are three blondes and five brunettes and there are eleven boxes of cereal on the side.
There are four boys and four girls, nine saucepans, three wooden spoons and a countless number of mugs.
‘Countless’ is an exaggeration that warps my numerical tradition but when there are just under thirty on the rack, half a dozen on the draining board, one holding toothbrushes, several decorating shelves, a few in the lounge, a couple in the flat and goodness knows how many sitting on bedside tables…it’s really quite tricky to add them up.
These numbers are fingerprints on the house. They live and breathe unseen but they are languishing on the taps and conversing on the well-thumbed corners of the newspaper. They make the banister slippery and the door handles sticky… and they are the traces of eight.
My favourite numbers are the ones that symbolise the familial teams I belong to.
I’ve been made one of three and of five. Six and Thirteen.
And now, I am one of eight.
I have a new number, and it’s eight.
Tomorrow I will get my cast off. Six weeks of frustration, tears, unopened jars, and one handed showering. Not to mention fabulously messy baking, giggles over getting stuck in dresses, quality time spent with my friends and family and a release from doing too much washing up.
I have been supported by everybody dear to me and though it’s been a rollercoaster, (sickening on occasions) it’s up there with Air as one of the most enjoyable rollercoasters I’ve been on. For those of you who aren’t aware, I really don’t like rollercoasters, only Air, so it’s a half decent compliment!
The sun is glorious today, my housemates are all as fantastic as ever, I’ve been into work and have my first shifts next week, The Biscuit Monster has just been given her ideal job, The Little One is on her way to Birmingham, the girls and I have spent all afternoon having lunch and England won the rugby….the day is just perfect.
A world away from where I was three weeks ago.
As my last bake before freedom, I chose a Lemon Drizzle Cake with a lemon butter cream. I actually think it’s one of the best cakes I’ve ever made. I was very proud of it and half was gone within ten minutes of it coming out of the oven.
-For the Cake
275g Self Raising Flour
275g Caster Sugar
20g Ground Almonds
Zest of one large lemon
Drop of Vanilla Essence
-For the Buttercream
200g Icing Sugar
Dash of Lemon Juice and any left over zest you may have.
-For the Drizzle
Juice of one Lemon
200g Icing Sugar
- Cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy
- Alternate adding the eggs and flour until everything is mixed together.
- Add the lemon zest and vanilla essence, stir through and put in a 20cm cake tin and bake at 180C for 40mins, until soft and only slightly moist in the middle.
-While the cake bakes, mix up the buttercream and drizzle ingredients in separate bowls and cover to stop them drying out.
-Once the cake is cooled you can cut it in half and spread the buttercream in the middle.
-Drizzle this icing on top and decorate with mini eggs or other Easter Treats