Friday, 25 February 2011
One cold and windy night . . .
It was a cool and windy night in the little cottage . . . all was quiet except for the scratch, scratch . . . scratch of the sunflowers next to the doorway against the glass of the windows. It was at once a comforting sound. Oh how nice it felt to be cosily tucked up inside, next to the fire . . when the wind outside roared around the eves and the rain lashed against the bricks and mortar of her cosy little home.
On an evening such as this there is nothing better than warming your toes next to the fire while you curl up in your rocking chair with a good book . . . the kettle simmering away on the top of the old wood stove . . . life is good.
It is quiet evenings like this that Norah enjoys the most . . . free to do what she will with her time, and lost in her own thoughts . . .
But what is that she hears??? Can it be? It is! The telephone rings and Norah is all agog, just who could be calling her on this cold and windy night? It's not her birthday, nor is it anyone else's??? Oh, she does hope that nothing is wrong and that nobody has been suddenly taken ill!! Oh my!!!
A quick hello and a sigh of relief! It is Mrs Brown the head teacher at the local Infants School calling. Norah has the reputation for being one of the best baker's in the village (please don't tell Mr Jones who own the local bakery . . . shhh . . . ). It is the week of the Infant School's annual Spring Fete, an event much looked forward to in the village each year, and Norah has been asked if she would kindly contribute a baked good for the tea tent!
Oh my! What a lovely surprise. She had forgotten that it was that time of year already and Norah quickly and quite happily steps up to the charge ahead of her and announces that she will most positively be most happy to contribute in any way she can!
Now that call was an unexpected and most wonderfully astonishing turn of events! Off to bed she must take herself so that first thing in the morning she can get busy creating and baking some delightful treats for all the local villagers and children!
Up at the crack of dawn and immediately after her usual breakfast of porridge and fruit Norah goes to work. She gathers her ingredients around her . . . butter and fresh farm eggs . . . flour and sugar . . . jam . . . milk . . .
She is quite famous for her jam tarts, although she would never brag about them herself . . . but it is a commonly known fact that her pastry, as light as a fairie's breath is second to none and when you combine that with the tasty thrill of her homemade cherry jam . . . well you have a treat that is guarenteed to bring a smile to even the most dour of countenances . . . even Mrs Treadlestuff, who lives at the other end of the village and who has been known to even scare the big black crows, who are afraid of nothing it seems, except for her . . . away from her garden flowers with her scowels and scorn . . .
Norah gets to work. She sings a happy song as she rolls and fluffs and huffs and puffs . . . pastry is buttered and folded and rolled out again, and again, with each gently rolling becoming flakier and lighter . . . then cut out into crimpled rounds and placed into her mother's old tart tins . . . cherry jam placed just so and in just the right quantity so that it won't run out all over the pan . . . just bubbling gently and sweetly to just the right consistency.
A few will get the added treat of a soft marshmallow baked on top at the end . . . food for the angels, she knows . . .
Wonder of all wonders . . . there is just enough flour, butter, sugar and eggs left to make some cheerful little gingerbread men for the kiddies. Oh they love them so! What a wonderful treat everyone is in for!
If there is only one thing better than snuggling next to the fire on a cold evening . . . it's baking for people who enjoy and appreciate the fruits of your labours. Sigh . . . life is indeed very good!
A life is good . . . that holds joy in it's score
Small children . . . old folks and an open door,
Where friends are welcome and the poor are fed,
And dignity and truth dwells at it's head . . .
God Bless til next time.