For the last month or so, life has been pretty frenetic; work has been cranking up again as the world and his wife comes back from holidays, I've been travelling a lot on various trips and the calendar is so full that I've had to resort to uttering the horrifically pompous, "Ok, I have a space on January 3rd." But lo and behold, last Monday I spotted something peculiar in my diary...the lesser spotted gap. And not just any old gap either - a weekend shaped gap. For the rest of the week if I was asked to do anything between 6am Saturday and 11pm Sunday, I responded with a vague, "I'll get back to you" and then didn't. So what did I do with my precious weekend?
This weekend I was mostly...in the kitchen. I baked and cooked myself into oblivion. It wasn't for a dinner party, I wasn't bribing people I work with to sponsor me (it's been known to happen) and I wasn't trying to apologise to my husband for breaking anything. I was simply enjoying the buzz of creating something with my own fair hand. I tried new recipes, I trotted out old ones. I measured. I stirred. Mixed. Kneaded. Iced. Tasted. I also burnt some stuff, but only a few bits and they were nicely crunchy rather than carcinogenic. I watched in awe as the row of ingredients in front of me came together into gooey, drippy mixtures, then with the magic of heat transformed into something not only edible, not only moreish, but something that ensures that next weekend's activities will be sponsored by Spanx. Much like my thighs, these creations weren't perfect; sometimes a bit lumpy, some were bigger than the others, but that just made them more endearing (I hope.)
But impending obesity aside, I loved the fact that in an age where everything is immediate - from the information we search for, to the food we order, to the decisions we make and the photos we see - that this act of creation (if you'll forgive the religious overtones) could not be rushed. Like many people I used some fancy-schmancy kitchen gadgets - my KitchenAid, for example, which is functional, gorgeous and makes my life easier (much like the ideal man) and some of the recipes I used were ones I'd found on the internet, which actually took less time than a blink of an eye. (It did, I Googled that too.) But for the actual magic to happen - and by that I mean the rising, the goldening and the cooling down enough to devour - could not be rushed. And that's probably what I loved most about it.
I also loved making something. When we're kids, we make things all the time. Whether it's rocket launchers out of toilet rolls and Fairy bottles, pictures of the house which our parents hold upside down or whether we decide to paint the dog, we're being creative and making things all the time. I'm not sure when that stops - and for some people it never stops - but this weekend I felt its loss and decided to do something about it. As I sat cross-legged in front of the oven with a cup of tea, watching the cupcakes rise, my heart lifted too. Not just because our oven is a bit unreliable and I needed to make sure they did rise, but because I was actually producing something myself. And it wasn't a report, it wasn't a presentation - it was an actual thing that had a purpose. Granted, that purpose was short-lived as said cupcake was inhaled as soon as it wouldn't cause third degree burns, but still.
Next weekend I shall return to back-to-back activities; I'll be rejoicing once again in settling arguments in 0.15 seconds courtesy of Wikipedia and I'll be glad when someone else does the creating - but I hope I'll also remember that sometimes slower is better and that our time, ultimately, is what we make of it.
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