Friday, 21 April 2017

A nostalgic visit to the lake at Hatfield.


Cold day but glad to be here, and look at that lake...!

As I began my (pool) swim today I was hit by a bout of nostalgia. It was brought on by a visit to one of my swimming haunts at the weekend, and whilst I didn't even put so much as a toe in the water (far too cold yet), just being by the water, with the regular crowd (some of who didn't give it up for the winter) had me wishing for the warmer weather to arrive as soon as possible so I could be swimming outside rather than in.

As we (shark and I) were visiting it only seemed right to go along armed with cake. The bar was really high last year. Our fellow swimmers there really know how to bake, and I felt the pressure to pull something great out of the bag (unlikely). We had told Leon and Al (Swimyourswim) that we were coming, and would be bringing cake, so there was no getting out of it. I am relying heavily on Shark as our baking efforts up to date have been 80% hers and a measly 20% mine (she is such a pro, whereas I am not).

I committed to making a sugar free Jaffa Cake cake. I'd not made one before but Shark had (she gave me one to aid my recovery), and armed with the recipe I started. I am actually not too bad at baking, and can usually rustle something edible and I've had no complaints at home. Having said that I have also taught my children great manners and whilst usually knowing they are polite gives me a warm feeling, I'm all of a sudden not confident they have always been completely honest with me.

FaceTime with Shark.
Hers and mine.
It actually went really well, despite the pressure, and although my first attempt was less than presentable (even there dog wouldn't eat the bit that fell on the floor), the second one was actually ok. I was feeling quietly confident until Shark FaceTimed me to ask how I was getting on and showed me her amazing looking cake. As a face saving exercise, whilst mine was cooling, I hot footed it to Betty's Tea Rooms to purchase one of their lemon and lime cakes. I am at this stage prepared to pass it off as my own (making sure I had removed all evidence of fraud). Fast forward two hours and surprisingly it's not looking too bad. It's not burnt and it hasn't sunk. I have put on the topping - not the original chocolate topping though, as in the time it took me to go out to get the reserve cake and back it has been eaten. I made do with an orange glaze that looks ok. No-one has owned up to eating the chocolate, and I have threatened to not bake until the culprit owns up. Funnily enough no-one so far has...

I am not fastidious about presentation. I don't need to be for I have secret ingredients and real unicorn tears in my cake that promise cake Nirvana. Shark on the other hand pulls it off and sends me a photo of her seasonally decorated cake worthy of a WI rosette. It doesn't really matter though as I shall be turning up at Hatfield and claiming it as a joint effort.

This is the after shot of Shark's cake.
My before and after aren't all that different. 
It was great to see everyone and to be lakeside again. I was surprises at how many swimmers there were, and not one of them swore when they were getting in. I must ask them how they do it as I'm yet to manage that one! It was a lovely sunny day, but chilly. The lake looked inviting however 11.2oc is still too cold for me, and so we stood on the side drinking coffee, eating cake and putting the world right, oh, along with Al pointing out the new buoys on the lake, with large numbers on (he told me he chose large so my middle aged eyes could see them - they're also bright orange, I'm unlikely to miss them, but thank him for thinking of me all the same...), and some new signs.

Al pointing...

All very smart, but this sends me into a bit of a panic. The lake is ready, but I'm not! I've yet to order myself a Dryrobe and a wetsuit and even need some polarised goggles, and whilst I have been extolling all of my wonderful virtues in the baking world (there are literally hundreds you might be able to tell), I've proved that I'm not a ringing endorsement for the organised person I claim to be. Being at Hatfield has made me realise that I hadn't considered that if there was a freaky bout of early warm weather and the water warmed up a few degrees I'd want to be in the lake rather than in the pool. I need to galvanise myself into action if I'm to be ready. No more baking for the time being (some will be relieved), only essential shopping!!



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