Wednesday, 3 March 2021

The Baking Cupboard



 On Saturday it will be the six year anniversary of the day I got married 
Of all the dates I need to forget , this one is the one I always seem to remember.
The morning of March 6th 2015 was very much like the one we experienced today. It was springlike and warm and sunny. 
Like this morning I was alone in the cottage, drinking coffee at the kitchen table.
Unlike this morning, I had been up and down like a fiddler’s elbow receiving cards and gifts from villagers and friends.
I remember the table being filled with bottles of champagne and boxes with bows and flowers in vases.
Around 11am I spied Auntie Gladys walking carefully down the lane. 
She wore a red woollen coat and looked frail at 95
I met her at the garden wall and she held my hand in greeting
I have a wedding gift for you both” she said handing me a hand written card 
I started my usual  you shouldn’t have  type reply which she waved away with a hand
“ Buy yourself something you need but would never usually buy yourself “ she said her watery blue eyes twinkling and I was suddenly moved that this old stalwart of the Church and of traditional values had just embraced her first gay marriage 
“ Thank you for being so kind , Your support means a great deal” I told her and she laughed her usual laugh and pushed her hands into her coat pockets to find a hankie 
“ It’s the law ! “ she said simply and I watched her walk back up the lane, her head to one side as though she was thinking hard.
I felt moved and humbled , as though my grandmother had just visited.

Auntie Glad’s card was traditional  and addressed to us both. Inside was several crisp ten pound notes which I rolled up and placed in the tea caddy on the mantle. 
I forgot the money until weeks later, when it was almost summer.

Back then I was planning for my beloved new kitchen and so fantasised about things I wanted to make it the best of all I had owned. Having my own baking cupboard was on my to do list.
And so, with the help of Auntie Glad’s money, I prepared for one.
I bought loaf tins and flan dishes and an old fashioned black bird with its mouth open to sit inside a steaming pie so that the pastry would not get soggy. 
I bought cake tins and a flour shaker and storage tins full of grease roof paper, food colouring and vintage Christmas cake decorations alongside vintage wooden spoons and a mixing bowl with blue embossed sides like the one my mother used to have.
Any I hid all of the bits and bobs away until the IKEA workmen had put in the kitchen, only bringing them out from their hiding place to fill my baking cupboard . The one nearest to the lane window , where the light is best to roll pastry and to kneed dough.
Today after night shift I was in my baking cupboard yet again, retrieving the ingredients to make sourdough bread  and as I kneeded the dough I remembered the day Auntie Gladys brought me a wedding present .......and continued to be a bit of a hero .


The baking Cupboard Today



102 comments:

  1. Although things have changed you have some wonderful memories and you'll always remember Auntie Gladys when you bake too. You should bake yourself a wonderful cake to celebrate the good memories on the 6th. x

    ReplyDelete
  2. This memory was about Gladys, always happy memories

    ReplyDelete
  3. The dates you want to forget are always the ones you remember...why is that. Auntie Gladys was a lovely and gracious lady...she would be happy to know you still use 'her' tins, and would probably have been amused to hear about your battle with ravioli!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am not sure she would know who I was charlotte

      Delete
  4. I hope the only tears shed were for Auntie Gladys and her wise words. "It's the law!".

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Indeed.. she was the one I was remembering today x

      Delete
  5. What a wonderful way to have spent the money that Auntie Gladys gave you .... a fitting tribute to her. I’m just wondering if your scones are as good as hers were ? XXXX

    ReplyDelete
  6. Bake a cake on the 6th to remember Auntie Gladys, and raise a glass to her, too. A wise and remarkable woman. xx

    ReplyDelete
  7. John, is Auntie Glad still alive? I don't remember reading about her passing....What a great lady.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes she’s living in a new nursing home outside flint which is fourteen miles away or so .she is 100

      Delete
    2. I was wondering that myself, jen.

      Delete
    3. And same here. WOW, 100??? Awesome!!!

      Delete
    4. Barbara Anne5:57 am

      I was wondering that myself. It's good to know she's still with us.

      Hugs!

      Delete
    5. Anonymous9:45 am

      You should bake Auntie Glad a cupcake on the 6th!

      Delete
  8. A very beautiful story. You have created a meaningful and lovely life for yourself. I am in awe of you and your village.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. She is part of the folklore of my journey here

      Delete
  9. Barbara Anne7:18 pm

    What a lovely memory of the remarkable and twinkling Auntie Gladys and how kind of her to give money toward whatever you chose to buy. Her scones were outstanding and the baking items you bought were the best possible use of her gift. I think of her often.

    Hugs!

    ReplyDelete
  10. I wish I'd had an Auntie Glad. She sounds lovely.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Everyone should have at least one auntie Glad

      Delete
  11. my ex and my wedding date is june 26, 1982. fuck him.

    my baking cupboard is over the oven. I am currently waiting for a pan of brownies to finish baking. I never use a box mix, always from scratch baking, like my grandmother taught me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lol your chutzpah always makes mr smile deArheart x

      Delete
    2. SMOOCHES, dear john! and thanks for the update on auntie glad. I do miss her.

      Delete
  12. I think you should bake some scones on the 6th, and, as Hooker says, raise a glass to Auntie Gladys. My Nan always said the secret to good scones was to keep everything cold - the ingredients, hands and kitchen. They are the only food I can cook well... I always have cold hands xx

    ReplyDelete
  13. SpikesBestMate8:01 pm

    That is one neat cupboard! You should see by baking drawer. God bless Aunty Gladys - I hope she is keeping well.

    ReplyDelete
  14. You shouldn't have to forget the day. You should honor it for being the special day it was. Bake a pie, have a drink and think of the special days in your future.

    ReplyDelete
  15. She is a remarkable woman, John. I have a blackbird pie vent and a Tala measure just like yours. They’re both very useful. I love the pretty china above the cupboard too. Remember Aunt Gladys when you make those scones, keep them cold, and don’t overwork them!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you would say when I was 40 , that one day one of my dear friends would have been an elderly lady in thei 90 s , I would never have believed them

      Delete
  16. I remember that story of Auntie Gladys coming by I was so pleased that a lady her age was going with the times and I felt hopeful that there were better days ahead. A baking cupboard in honor of her is so fitting John.

    ReplyDelete
  17. what a perfect thing to do with the scone baker's money. i miss aunt gladie and am glad to hear she is still alive. do you ever hear anything about her. would she be well enough to receive a card?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I believe she has little memory of things recently passed

      Delete
  18. Maybe you will get to visit her once COVID is more under control. I got my first jab today - a random, unused dose was available when I went to the pharmacy to pick up my meds and the pharmacist offered it to me!
    Good memories of Gladys!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I’d like to think we could meet one more time

      Delete
  19. What an amazing lady! She must be past 100 years now? I hope you can meet again sometime.

    I love you baking cupboard, I hope it has brought you joy.

    lizzy

    ReplyDelete
  20. You’ve already made the best of it with that beautifully written vignette x

    ReplyDelete
  21. Everyone needs an Auntie Glad...
    Lucky man you are..and you made good use of her gift

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We all need one like her just once in our lives

      Delete
  22. I remember that. And all of us will always remember Auntie Glad.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So many of you have walked alongside me for so many years. I need to remember that x

      Delete
  23. I think you need a photo of her on the shelf. She will love to be a part of your baking.
    Bonnie in Minneapolis

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. She will always be a part of me bonnie

      Delete
  24. Anonymous10:34 pm

    I realize today that I have been reading your blog for much longer than I had imagined.......I well remember many Auntie Glad stories! What a lovely thing to have your baking cupboard and Auntie Glad filling your heart as you enjoy your cooking
    Susan M

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah ....lol I’ve been banging on for years x

      Delete
  25. Another lovely story about Auny Gladys John - she will always be in your heart - but do remember you were always in her heart too.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Maybe March the 6th could become The Annual Aunty Gladys Scone bake and picnic gathering of friends !

    ReplyDelete
  27. The oldest member of our church sat serenely watching her grandson marry his fellow. How things have changed in her lifetime! She gracefully grew and changed right along with them.

    ReplyDelete
  28. I enjoyed this post. You certainly have a way with words John.

    ReplyDelete
  29. We should all be so lucky to have an Aunty Gladys.
    Debbie

    ReplyDelete
  30. Still neat and beautiful, dear man. How you loved Aunt Gladys.

    ReplyDelete
  31. I also remember the post you are referring to. Aunty Glad was a treasure. I don't bake these days unless the other half moans that I don't ever make him something nice lol. Then he might get a lemon cake. It was great that you could use the money to furnish your baking cupboard with such treasures; I bet you still have them when you are 90.

    Jo in Auckland

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I forget so many of you have been with me fir many years

      Delete
  32. What a lovely post !

    ReplyDelete
  33. Another lovely, touching story, John!

    ReplyDelete
  34. I love the beautiful connection between Auntie Gladys and your special baking cupboard! I also love that you said you bought a mixing bowl like the one your mother used to have. I've done things like that many times trying to bring back a memory of my mother or grandmother. xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think people set design things that they remember

      Delete
  35. That brought a tear to my eye, sweet John.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Aunt Gladys is/was special as are you for sharing her with your world.
    I can't believe you have been separated from the Prof for what half that time since the wedding. We are coming up to 50 years but hanging, health wise by a thread. Nevertheless we cling to it.
    Love in so many ways and so many directions. Thank you for sharing this.

    ReplyDelete
  37. That was a nice gesture. And, it is so good to be able to buy items with gift money.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I didn’t want the money to disappear

      Delete
  38. How lovely to have a dedicated baking cupboard (mine is strewn about in our new house as less storage space), and everything in it reminding you of Aunty Gladys' kindness and acceptance.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I had wanted a baking cupboard for years

      Delete
  39. I remember that day so well. You were so full of happiness and joy that I felt its warmth all the way up here in Middlesbrough.

    ReplyDelete
  40. A wonderful memory of Auntie Glad. I hope they gave her a lovely party for her 100th birthday in her nursing home x

    ReplyDelete
  41. Such an original gift. I miss Auntie Gladys being on your blog and stories of her tying bags of scones to your door handle and of her soaking up the sun on her doorstep...........x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. She’s still here ...albeit occasionally

      Delete
  42. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  43. I'm glad I got to meet her, she really was a proper, somehow regal granny-like little figure. And it's so appropriate that the Queen of the Scones should have part furnished your baking cupboard. 💗

    Haha ... copying my Facebook comment on here as I thought I had put it on here. And I've noticed we have quite a few similar things in our baking supplies, although I should follow your lead in my new place and have a definitive Baking Cupboard ... it will save picking things from each cupboard.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I loved it when u met.
      I felt vindicated in my writing when someone I valued realised what I write is true

      Delete
    2. Aww ... that's a nice thing to say. xx

      Delete
  44. How curious are coincidences. I never make pies but yesterday, I made a pie for my partner's 80th using my mother's pie funnel. Her apple pies were superb. Good memories

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I guess visiting Auntie Gladys with some baking is quite impossible just now. So sad

      Delete
  45. She was such a sweetie, I can see you becoming Uncle John to the next generation

    ReplyDelete
  46. How sweet and such a great memory.

    ReplyDelete
  47. Two thoughts, John. "When I walk into my kitchen today, I am not alone. Whether we know it or not, none of us is. We bring fathers & mothers & kitchen tables & every meal we have ever eaten." Molly Wizenberg - from A Homemade Life. Secondly, in regards to exes and special days, if they could only be completely bad, I think it would be easier to reconcile with them. There always seems to be something good that keeps that connection going.

    ReplyDelete
  48. It's great that you have those reminders of Auntie Glad and her remarkable spirit and openness and sense of community.

    ReplyDelete

I love all comments Except abusive ones from arseholes