Bakery, part II

Because I can’t resist. Readers will recall that two of Betty’s younger sisters made this bakery. One of these sisters used to sometimes make Betty a nativity scene out of a small blob of Blu-Tac, to hone her skills, it seems.

Check out the custard squares on the second shelf — the ones next to the plum pudding and the Neenish tarts.

Christmas day: an overview

12:00 AM. Midnight Christmas carol service at the Baptist Tabernacle. They gave us candles. Carols and fire — a winning combination. And midnight: don’t forget midnight.

Betty drove home and dived into bed, only to bounce back up again moments later to get ready for Christmas day!

6:40 AM. Drove to the boy person friend’s apartment building. Waited patiently for 7:15 pickup time.

7:05 AM. Gave in. Buzzed boy person friend’s apartment (world’s most horrible noise). Bundled presents, hastily wrapped between work and carol service last night, into the car. Headed to suburbs.

7:30 AM. Picked up boy person friend’s father. Met him at end of driveway, decided not to return for gift bottle of sparkling grape juice so as not to alarm the dog.

9:00 AM. Arrived in Hamilton! Made obligatory drive-by of supermarkets in case one should be open: not the case. Boy person friend’s father gave up idea of replacing bottle of sparkling grape juice.

9: 30 AM. Arrived at church for Christmas morning service. Betty’s two youngest sisters played piano and cello to accompany carols, along with a friend who played violin; all were most talented, making Betty wish very briefly that she had not given up on the violin. Betty’s father, who is the minister, spoke briefly about the Christmas story from the perspective of Mary.

10:45 AM. Went to the home of Betty’s youth. Opened presents, ate olives and pickled onions, drank Christmas punch, Skyped Betty’s London sister, and so on. Finally ate dinner. The omnivores had roast ham and drumsticks, and Betty had curried pasta salad, roast pumpkin salad, more roast vegetables, cranberry sauce, and peas. Dessert was plum pudding, ambrosia and strawberries. It was too hot to go to the park and play Kubb, as originally suggested, so everyone swanned about the house and listened to Betty’s sisters playing music.

5:50 PM. Bundled the boy person friend and his father back into the car and drove back to Auckland. Much snoozing was done on the way, but not by Betty, fortunately.

7:30 PM. Returned the boy person friend’s father to his home. Got the dog a Christmas dinner. He’s very nice.

8:00 PM. Betty and the boy person friend drove to Mt Eden and watched the sunset.

It was a nice day. The end.

Birthday goodness

Betty turned 27.

The boy person friend took her to lunch at Revel on Karangahape Road. Betty loves Karangahape Road. Back in the day, when she was writing her thesis, she used to have breakfast there sometimes. Many is the time she hiked all the way up Queen Street in search of a vegan marshmallow from the SAFE shop in St Kevin’s Arcade. To this day, she occasionally hankers for Thai food from a truly horrendous foodcourt on Mercury Lane. There is a greenish-gold dome on one of the older buildings that she has determined one day to explore. Sometimes she gets a deliciously low-rent tofu hot dog from a tiny hole-in-the-wall takeaway near the Grafton Bridge. I digress.

Revel is a lovely cafe. One time, when Betty was feeling poorly, the man behind the coffee-machine made Betty an impromptu cup of lemon and ginger toddy; he offered a shot of whisky, which Betty declined, though she immediately wondered why she had; but her throat felt ever so much better afterward.

The boy person friend asked for a lemon, lime and bitters, and was somehow talked into this elderflower-and-rhubarb concoction; it was extremely nice.

He also had wedges. Betty had eggs benny with delicious mushrooms and zucchini. Her tea was made of almonds and hibiscus, among other things; they have escaped her memory due to her advancing years.

Scooch on over closer, dear, and I will nibble your ear

The dude, who does not seem to recognise herself by any other name, had not seen Betty for some few months. She was initially suspicious, and inclined to back away and do other things, but after a few minutes she discovered that Betty could jump with two feet, which was suitably hi-larious. It was subsequently on. The dude spent a pleasant evening pointing out Betty’s nose and chin, reading Carle’s Very Hungry Caterpillar and Ahlberg’s Baby Catalogue, giving Betty her doll, manning the rocking-horse, running full-tilt across the floor, and even, poignantly, learning Betty’s name. She can say “Uncle” quite attractively, and she manages “Bizzy” with even more aplomb; the full “Uncle Bizzy” appellation is not quite available to her, but it’s coming. (Readers who are newish friends may not know that, at birth, the dude had no uncle. As her oldest and most suitable aunt, Betty shouldered the role.)

The much-awaited haircut

Betty was hoping that this would give the general impression — but, she realises despondently, not so much. The bits over the right ear are only about ear-length, and the layers you see flicking out to the left are only slightly shorter than the longest bits at the back. Do you follow? It’s actually quite structured when blow-dried. The short bit can be pinned back most conveniently for working out. I still like it.