Monday, 19 September 2011


This week I thought I would tell the sorry story of the birthday cake I bought my middle daughter for her  birthday last year (apologies to early Twitter followers who have already heard it).

Even though my two eldest daughters are now grown up (28 and 30 years – how can that possibly be, I ask?) I still don my mummy loves you hat and celebrate their birthday much more than I do my own. I buy a cake, a card and a present with a big bow on it and my husband always says: “they're not kids anymore”, but I don't care (the youngest on still is – she's only 9) and I carry on anyway – because they are, and always will be, my lilttle girls.

Anyway, middle daughter's birthday comes around in September and so I buys the present, I buys the wrapping paper and the big bow, I buys the card and I buys the cake. Here is the cake:
1st prize for realism
I thought it was a bit different and we had a cat once when middle daughter was growing up, so I bought it and proudly showed it to husband.

“Ahh, we meet again, Mr Bond”, says husband in his best 007 arch villain voice.  

“Shut up” says I, “some people just don't appreciate culinary art”, and I start to stick candles in it. Now, in real life,the kitty cake looked much cuter than the picture (which gives a more 'freaky' impression) however, stick a load of candles in it and you get... well, you get a nightmare that can be used to threaten little kids and old people. Imagine a sort of Tiddles meets Pinhead from Hellraiser and you get the picture.
I think I've got something
 in my eye....

By now husband is wetting himself laughing at my attempts to make the Pinhead Tiddles more palatable, but unfortunately, once you put the candles into a cake, they leave a mark. So, if you then remove them from the poor creature's head, you are left with a load of holes and a cake that now looks like a pox-ridden cat from the dark ages. Even I had to admit it wasn't looking good.

Later, I take a phone call from the birthday girl herself:

Me (in best sunny Doris Day voice): How's my little birthday girl? What would you like for your prezzie?

Middle Daughter (in best Eeyore with haemarroids voice): My life sucks. I want a new job, a new place to live and a boyfriend.

Me (looking worriedly at the pox-ridden kitty): Well, that's nice darling.... I'll see what I can do....

I was a bit put out at this point – I mean, she could have at least asked for something manageable, like world peace or a cure for headlice. Suddenly, it seemed to me that the bottle of Britney perfume waiting to be wrapped up in a large bow, wasn't quite going to cut it as a suitable present.

Come on in - room for plenty more
Still, the next day we pack poor Tiddles and the bottle of Britney into the back of the car and start the 90 mile trek down to London to wish Eeyore a happy birthday. This journey inolves roughly a two-and-a-half hour slog around the M25 - and anyone that does the route will tell you there is another circle in Dantes Inferno and that is known to the hapless commuter as: 'The Dartford Bridge'. This Divine Comedy usually involves sitting for well over an hour in a 7 mile tailback of half a million cars and paying £1.50 toll fee for the privilege of crossing the River Styx. You go from a dozen lanes at the tollbooths out into just 4 on the other side, and the only way to do it is to close your eyes and put your foot down on the accelerator, then it's every car (or 12-wheeled truck) for himself.

So, having successfully completed this deathly trial, we finally arrive tired, late and dishevelled at the birthday tea in South London. At this point, I would just like to say that a pox-ridden, Pinhead Tiddles does not travel well. It had taken a bit of a battering in it's box and had started to sweat. Now 'road-kill' Krueger would have been a better description.

Undeterred, I proudly lit the candles (giving road-kill Krueger Tiddles rather haunting and ethereal glow) and we all sang happy birthday to Eeyore, to whom the birthday fairy had not been kind – neither supplying a new job, a new place to live nor indeed a new boyfriend* – there was however, a bottle of Britney, £30 in Next vouchers and a Jamie Oliver cookbook, so it wasn't all doom and gloom.......

Here Kitty, Kitty
….at least it wasn't until it came to cutting the cake. For one thing, the cake designers at Waitrose had not taken into account is the squeamishness/sentimentality of your average English female. The birthday girl baulked at sticking a knife into Tiddles – even if it did look like Pinhead Krueger road-kill – and when husband (who had had enough of all this birthday histrionics after a 4 hour drive through the 10th circle of  Dantes Hell) grabbed the knife, announcing: “oh good grief, you are 28 years old for heaven's sake!” before cutting Tiddles' head off and slicing up it's body – there were squeals of disapproval and nobody really wanted to eat it.

The upshot of all this was that I ended up bringing the decapitated, Kruegeresque, pox-ridden head of Tiddles back home and, after 15 minutes of sitting looking at it, looking back at me, I gave it a decent burial and chucked it in the bin.
Happy Birthday!
(2nd prize for realism)
I have learned my lesson. Never buy a cake that you have to decapitate. Boring, but safe cakes from now on... I just need to work out how to wrap up world peace and put a large bow on it.......

*Since September 2010 the Christmas Fairy has come up trumps with the new job and new place to live - the boyfriend however, is still elusive.....

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