The Vet enjoys baking and cooking and being culinary. Her resolution for 2016 is to learn a new baking technique each month (that and pass her Vet finals – I hope). Bread making was January but, in addition, she booked in for an intensive biscuit icing course at Biscuiteers. She needed someone to go with her….
Now let’s be honest here. I can hold a pen. Indeed I think I can hold my own in penland. But other artistic pursuits requiring a modicum of digital dexterity are more of a challenge. The Vet asked if they had many men attending (I’m modern, I have a well polished feminine side so I wasn’t fazed one way or the other) Apparently I was the second. I was not going to let the male side down.
We were five including Leonora the teacher. Me, the Vet, Jen – a journalist who was going to write about her experience, and Mary a rather smiley yummy-mummy who had never made a biscuit before for Oscar and Orlando but was going to have really good go (do they do lessons in how to smile for three hours straight in Notting Hill? Do they include smiling without wrinkles? I had landed on planet London-Posh).
We were given a chart and some chocolate biscuits. By the end of the session we would have perfectly iced Big Ben, a Black Cab, an Old Telephone Kiosk, Tower Bridge, some part of the London Eye and a butterfly.
I didn’t believe her either.
The start was not auspicious. We had two sorts of icing: a piping bag to make thin strips and a bottle to dispense icing float to fill in the shapes we made with the piping bags. You tighten the bag, hold it as you would a pen, squeeze, dot the point on the biscuit and squeeze evenly, raising the bag and pulling back. So easy.
I’m congenitally incapable of the constant squeeze; I vibrate, I wobble, I flow like a sine wave.
Oh sod it. How difficult can it be?
Eventually they couldn’t wait for me so, non illegitimi carborundum, I ploughed ahead. The Tube station sign was fist – a simple blue rectangle. It can’t be difficult. I wondered if I should join the children’s party going on next door but I feared Tarquin and Piers might be combining their Kumon maths with Pre school civil engineering and not appreciate my amateurish attempts. At least Jen the Journalist struggled too. Mary meanwhile found everything deliciously jolly.
After the framing comes the float. A sort of filling in between the lines. Now that I can do. I was on a roll. Once filled the biccies go off to an oven so set the float. After that you decorate with piping. Or you make a complete dog’s breakfast of the whole shemozzle.
I took a lot of pictures though at one point I took about 25 of one setting because all the icing sugar stuck my finger to the shutter button.
You know what? By the time we reached the butterfly I was enjoying myself. I wasn’t the worst.
I lie, I was but I had my moments. Like this abstract. I felt pretty damn good when tis came back from the oven.
Then I saw the Vet’s final layout.
I know why she’d taken me.