Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Here's a triolet I made earlier

09:05:00 Posted by Sheilagh Dyson , , , , , , 2 comments

My first attempt at baking was a disaster. Aged 22, I was making pastry for some pie or other and the pastry just would not form into a ball so that I could roll it out. Cue tears, nigh on hysterics, as time and again the separate crumbs wilfully refused to play ball, literally. I had no-one to tell me, show me how make pastry. (Advice from older self – pull yourself together and rub in a bit more butter or add a bit more water.)

My poor Mum, cook and baker extraordinaire, exhausted by full time work and four kids, never had the time or patience, bless her, to show us the ropes. She was too preoccupied with heaving meals onto the table for the six of us with monotonous regularity to assume the role of a saintly Jamie Oliver on top of everything else.

A few years later, I was churning out the pies, cakes, curries, stews like a good ‘un. This was because I was now experienced. I had tried and failed, then tried again. I had met with triumph and disaster and had treated those two imposters both the same. My love of food knew no bounds and I would have a go at anything, over and over again until I got it right.

 I love everything about food – browsing in food shops, buying it, finding out for myself what goes with what, reading about it, getting bargains, turning disparate ingredients into something delicious – and, of course, eating it.

 Here’s a triolet I made earlier:

Balanced Baking


Weigh the eggs, butter, sugar and flour

For a perfect Victoria sponge.

All must weigh the same, same power.

Weigh the eggs, butter, sugar and flour

Whisk and fold and blend and now you

Mix with love to a sloppy gunge.

Weigh the eggs, butter, sugar and flour

For a perfect Victoria sponge


I think I was a pretty poor mother at the start, too! I was terrified by these beautiful little scraps of humanity, cast upon the ocean of life with me to protect them. I felt inept and ill-equipped to deal with something so momentous. I can remember pleading with my 4 month old (!) son, after I had fed, winded and changed him and still he was shrieking implacably, ‘Please tell me what you want me to do, I’ll do whatever you want.’  (Advice from older self – pull yourself together and take him for a walk.) My Mum was a tremendous help – these were her GRANDCHILDREN. Do not underestimate the power of that statement! In the intervening years, I hope I learned through experience, to be a good Mum myself, from very shaky beginnings. Again, I learned through all the mistakes, the ups and downs, the highs and lows that contribute to experience.

 Then it came my turn to be a Gran and what a revelation that has been. Somehow, I just knew instinctively what to do with them, all the old self-doubt evaporated and I had confidence from the outset with all three of them.

I am down with the kids, oh yes - I can sing JLS and One Direction's (appalling) songs with the best of them! Amelie thinks I’m cool because I write stories, drive a car and make the best broccoli. (????) Harris thinks I’m hilarious because I make him do Glad All Over, with all the gestures and because I pinion his little arms to the floor whilst bellowing ‘Ah One-ay, Ah Two-ay, Ah Three-ay’ like an old-style wrestling referee. Yes, I know it sounds like child abuse, but he chuckles uncontrollably.  Evie likes singing, reading and saying nursery rhymes with me - and loves doing Asda with me. And I have loved every minute of these special new relationships.  


Lindsay said...

This post resonated with me today. I tend to be similar, I'll have a go at the majority of things (not skydiving, that's just silly) but recently I realised that not everyone does this. Many people are just too scared to fail to live properly, and thats a shame. I'd much rather have a bash and fail than not try, how else do you find things that you love doing? Great post Sheilagh :) x

Ashley R Lister said...

Love the triolet.

I also love the whole idea of learning through the experience of parenting. I think the only thing parenting has taught me is: don't be a parent - it's too much like hard work.