It is a tradition with me to have a Christmas Cake Bake day in November. Open to one and all to drop in at any time (an invitation bound to add to the chaos). As 2019 was our first year on Yell and we had only been here since February I felt a little anxious at inviting people who maybe felt we were too newly arrived. Anyhow, I wrote out some cards and dropped them in at different houses, sometimes finding them in which was nice or out which didn’t matter because either way the houses are open, you push the porch door open, call out and if there’s no one in just leave the card for them.
To my surprise and pleasure they were happy to come although I had to explain what was involved as ‘a cake bake day’ was not a particularly known thing.
The day came, I had made various traybakes and savoury bits and pieces, the coffee pot was full and the kettle ready. Just as I was thinking ‘ there’ll be a lot of left overs to eat if no one comes’ the callers began to arrive. They started by sitting in the kitchen having a hot drink and some of the bakes and gradually as more and more arrived they spread through to the lounge where a good peat fire burnt in the stove and before I knew it we were off with a swing.
The children were a delight. Two little girls with their grandmother came and I asked if they would like to help make the cake. The slightly older one (perhaps 5yrs) said a very firm ‘Yes’ when I asked if she could crack eggs and she proceeded to tap them briskly on the side of the bowl cleanly and efficiently with far less mess than I would have achieved.
Callers kept coming, bringing with them little gifts or home bakes to add to the fare. By now they were happily spread through the house, chatting away because, of course, they all knew each other well. The cake mix now ready and the fruit in I gave the bowl and a metal spoon to my small helpers and said “Take this in to the lounge and make them pass the bowl one to another so they can make a wish!’ I added ” Make sure they don’t beat it, they must just fold the mixture gently so as not to beat out the air”. She nodded solemnly ( I had already explained this to her when she asked why and she had listened carefully).
I left her with the grown ups and went back to the kitchen to hand out more coffees, beers, teas and so on. When I went back to check on her I asked “Have they all done it as you told them to?” She fixed them with a stern eye and firmly said, ” No”.
Clearly a young lady heading for an excellent career as someone in high and efficient office!
It was such fun and as they departed they asked “Will you do this again next Christmas?” I replied “Yes” thinking what fun it had been and how lovely it was of all these Shetlanders to make me feel so welcome.
Little did I know that Christmas 2020 would be a very different affair. Throwing open your doors to welcome visitors to crowd in to the kitchen is definitely off limits due to Covid but with a vaccine on the horizon I hope for better things in the festive times to come.