A FAMILY AFFAIR

Feb 9, 2021 | TRAVEL TALES

I have always been a real home bird never straying far from my Mothers apron strings. This is a role I now seem to have assumed in my work life as I have a real soft spot for our little people of the planet and their curious minds and never failing fun & zest for life. They provide me with an excuse to release my own “inner child ”

On a recent trip to Oban I found myself having signed up to a party of 12 Adults & 8 children! This was to be no mean feat by my self. I soon however worked my magic and by day two had enlisted the help from the fathers of the party and delegated duties accordingly (why not I thought!). They proved more than able and the whole operation flowed with military precision. That was until one of the gents had a rather sad demeneaour about him as he intently appeared to be going through the bins. My curiosity got the better of me and so I decided to enquire if all was well. Very sheepishly he told me he had lost his wedding band…. Oh dear, I too now felt his sadness.

Back to business tho and I had little people bouncing around the kitchen & food to prepare. In order to regain some control of my space I offered them each a job! Counting cutlery, polishing cutlery, cleaning potatoes, and for the more advanced weighing off ingredients (how trusting am I). Soon they would all be summoned for their bath time and I would embrace my own space, pour myself a Gin and concentrate on dinner with the soothing delight of my four legged guest  Cloudagh a little wire haired Dauschound. Stepping over dogs & children is all part of the role and a house becomes a home with both in tow.

At Breakfast the next morning the house was fuelled by excited children energised by our Scottish fresh air the day before and a good nights sleep in a comfy bed. They were ready for the day! Our friendship from the day before had not been forgotten & so the requests begun….. Please can I help you Elaine …. PLEASE …..

My inner child had won & excited little Elaine suggested we have an afternoon baking if the rain persisted and providing the parents didn’t have other plans and so we gathered around the table my little team and me to conjure up some delights for afternoon tea. We settled on Flap Jacks & a fresh cream strawberry cake  Always in my kit I have an array of pretty aprons & this in itself caused much excitement ,trying to co-ordinate with the girls pretty dresses, I understand the importance of such matters!

The scales were brought out from the back of the cupboard, the porridge oats and syrup were duly placed centre stage, baking tins were getting greased and everyone was productive, some perhaps more than others! I have to say I felt I was covering a maths class not too badly in the process as they weighed ingredients checked tin sizes and worked out oven temperatures. I made a conscious attempt to” let them be” & not interfere (I have been known to struggle with this at times!) so a learning opportunity for all involved. This was THEIR opportunity to showcase their creativity. I would get my turn later!

With syrup to spoon out & eggs to beat the kitchen became a hive of industry with everyone keen to work the “mixer” the most responsible position. I decided everyone was managing very ably and so I too decided to be productive and sort out the recycling bins until the necessary stirring & beating had concluded. Plastic bottles,card,tin & of course  the odd wine and beer bottle I duly went outside to place them in the bins ,as I was empting them in I heard a tinkle as something I thought was a metal washer fell out on the ground. This was no scrap metal ,THIS was the WEDDING BAND! I was beyond excited and nearly forgot about the kids in my care!

Heading back to my duties we continued with the baking. I love how Innocent children always are. There love is simple & uncomplicated .They just want us to listen. They whipped the cream (almost into butter ! And packed the flap jacks like they were in  business. (A FLAPJACKERY!) I have to say there was a lot of spoon & finger licking in the process. In the oven they both went timers set and operation tidy up begun. My wee workers truly had excelled in their roles.

Ping and 20 mins later the baking was done. Cooling time now and as the cooling wires sat in the middle of the table our team begun to sing songs ,dance & tell tales … (of course!) As always Andersons hold their guests confidentiality in high regard so unfortunately I cannot share! (that’s the chefs perk) Decorating time – We were now working against the clock as afternoon tea was at 4 pm and perhaps we had spent a little too long singing and dancing …. The sponge was lovingly put together with the beautiful fresh berries placed with great care within ensuring they were evenly spaced …..fairness through the eyes of a child. We decided on a 4 tier approach to this cake as everything’s better the higher to heaven! Flap Jacks cut and plates appropriately selected ,it was now time to put the kettle on .

They had now reached an all time high as we were all delighted with the result and had got to know each other rather well in the process. A photo shoot for the memory book and I then released them back to their parents with the loving offerings of their own fair hands. They decided they weren’t done there and then proceeded to set up afternoon tea as a fundraiser for a little boy going through cancer treatment. The parents had to “Tip for tea”. This thoughtful act melted my heart and leaves a very dear memory .The creation through love from one child to another left me feeling very humble that day.

A childs reminder – LIVE, LAUGH, LOVE… often. The kids had so much fun, I thought it only fair to share a wee game  for the adults and so I requested them to close their eyes hold out their hands and ONE GUEST would receive a surprise…. I then proceeded to place the cherished gold band back on the finger of the gent.

Another HAPPY EVER AFTER ….delivered through the eyes of a child.

My own inner child says 

Thank you Oban x