It has been a strange week. After months of quiet solitude I have been thrown back in the deep end and have not only seen ACTUAL people, but suddenly got an audience of fellow interrupted family misfits to share my adventures with. It’s all a bit unexpected but very lovely. I have spent a few sleepless nights wondering whether to use this new platform for good or evil, before concluding I’ll probably just continue as I started and use it to moan about my absent husband. More on that later…
Scotland is still a few weeks behind the rest of the UK in terms of lockdown easing which is making things all a bit confusing. However, the measures that we do have meant that I could at least set to work on organising a lockdown birthday this week for my son that was a bit more exciting for him then eating yet another cheese toastie in silence whilst watching his mother self-medicating with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc.
We decided a couple of weeks ago that even though travel back to the UK was looking like it could be a possibility for my husband it wouldn’t be fair to attempt it. A journey home at the moment would involve a complicated approval process, at least two flights and two weeks of quarantine for him on either side of the trip and, to be honest, although we are missing each other, the thought of being locked up in close confinement after all this time apart when things are just starting to open up was not appealing to anyone and felt like a particularly big ask for the birthday boy.
So he couldn’t see his Dad on his birthday, but he could see his sister, aunt, uncle, cousin, grandmother (not all at the same time obviously) and have a friend round for an outdoor social distancing birthday play date. It was so lovely to see them chatting away and mucking about on their bikes as they should be. They didn’t stop talking the whole time and all worries I had that he might struggle to reintegrate with his friends after all this very quickly disappeared.
There were phone calls, zoom chats and messages from friends and family. Cards and gifts arrived from class mates and neighbours. His day coincided with the bittersweet arrival of the long awaited leavers hoodies from his lovely primary school and he ended it with a Netflix movie party with his friends. All chatting nonsense online and stuffing their faces with the sweets we had delivered to their doorsteps earlier in the day.
He had a blast. In fact, it was probably the most attention he has ever had on a birthday with everyone going above and beyond to make him feel special when he has been so isolated. It was certainly easier then when we were abroad and it was harder to connect with people, especially when there was no postal system to help with delivering cards and gifts from his UK family.
I, however, was exhausted. It felt like we had gone from 0-60mph in 3 seconds and with only me on hand to do the shopping, baking, cooking, wrapping, balloon blowing, lockdown visit coordination and tech support, it has totally drained me!
The highlight, and the main purpose of this blog post, was (as always) the cake. He had asked for the much loved Chocolate Hedgehog Cake from my mother’s ancient Cadbury’s Chocolate cookbook, which has featured in many a birthday celebration over the years. I was relieved to have got away with not having to attempt another impossible Nerdy Nummies creation, and my husband decided he was going to join in with the fun and make his own version to cut at our family Zoom birthday tea. Here’s a picture of what he was aiming for:
Now, he has been doing very well with the lockdown cooking and baking, with many notable successes and often limited access to ingredients. He has learnt a lot and likes to share his new found knowledge with me on a regular basis. My personal favourite ‘no-shit?’ insights have included:
‘Did you know it took me nearly 2 hours to cook a meal from scratch today? I’m not sure I could be bothered doing this all the time.”
‘I went to the shops and realised I would need to come back again so that the chicken was fresh. It’s hard to plan meals ahead and cook them when you’re trying to work too.’
There have been more. I just get my revenge by ordering more girly cushions and reorganising the garage to my own liking whilst he can’t stop me.
Anyway, I digress. The whole point of this rambling post was to share the picture of the hedgehog cake he made which made me laugh for about three hours straight, so here it is…