I am married to a technical writer. I am forever being told that the manuals and instructions for everything that we get ought to be read before the equipment is used. Like my paternal grandmother I find it all too easy to just lift the thing and try to use it. Unlike her, however, I do tend to read the instructions on medicine bottles: she always unscrewed and took two pills – and then often found that she ought to have only taken one.
My mother is usually very good at reading manuals as well – perhaps that is why she and Andrew seem to get on quite so well. A longstanding family joke is that
unless Mum can read how to do anything from a book she won’t be able to do it!
It was, therefore, quite surprising to hear from Mum that her Christmas Cake for this year is not going quite according to plan. One family friend, formerly Head of Home Economics in a well-known Girls’ High School, is particularly impressed (?) that Christmas Cake hasn’t quite worked.
Mum told me of the problems as soon as I disembarked from the train yesterday afternoon. Apparently she had found an instruction in her recipe to
Make sure Michael gets pouring in some of the bowls. dated 1988
I can quite categorically state that I had no hand in the pouring in of the bowls of fruit this year, so perhaps that is the reason that the recipe has not gone according to plan!
Yesterday evening, Mum made the marzipan (from scratch of course) and put it on the cake, and has since iced the cake. She has also taken the precaution of buying Christmas Cake mix from Sainsbury’s – just in case (Peter would be proud).