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Berwick, North Northumberland: Food-Travel-Culture-Community

Living the Covid dream

Sourdough porn shots are flooding social media, and the Husband is getting more exasperated. His loaves are dense, he complains. He’s under-proving or over-proving or something. It takes him so many stages to get his loaves in the oven and out again. And it’s painful to watch his little crestfallen face when the ta-dah! moment is not quite what he’d hoped for.

It’s all a bit like having Boris Johnson back at Number 10 after his sick leave. A little bit flat. Mind you, Johnson says that we’re beginning to turn the tide on Covid19 (hurrah!). And maybe his presence will turn back another tide: the one of people getting gung-ho about lockdown. Obviously, no one’s mentioning the austerity tide which washed away massive parts of the NHS years ago – that would be bad form. So, the good news is that Johnson is with us as we wrestle Covid19 to the floor.

Wrestling is one exercise the family has not taken up during lockdown. Although I wouldn’t blame the younger daughter for throwing the eldest into a body press. She’s taken to calling her little sister ‘slut monkey’. Apparently, it’s a term of endearment. And, in fact, when I did intervene in one bicker-fest, I was firmly told by both daughters to butt out. Is this what it’s like to be Donald Trump, I wonder? He must always feel as if he’s in the wrong, no matter what he says. I mean, how could the President of the United States public ‘musings’ on ingesting bleach possibly be dangerous? It’s not as if he’s some quack leader making up rules and then actively encouraging people to flout them, is it? Oh, hang on…

I find the whole idea of facemasks slightly depressing. When we were lucky enough to go to Japan, they seemed like an exotic accessory: something you always noticed but tried not to stare at. So, when I overheard the eldest daughter saying she’d ordered some, I was impressed but also resigned. Now I’ll have to wear one when I go on my once-weekly shopping trip, I thought. Turns out we’d got our wires crossed.

The Husband’s sourdough saga is a weekly serial (see what I did there). Needless to say, we mock his efforts. My favourite way of tormenting him is waggling Instagram at him and saying: ‘Can we have one like this next time?’ We answered a plea for sourdough starter from a friend at the beginning of lockdown. The photographic evidence of the friend’s airy, soft, perky, plump loaves is particularly painful to the Husband. ‘That’s made with my starter!’ he wails. He’s just read this paragraph and said: ‘It’s more than weekly!’ It certainly feels that way to the rest of us.

The daughters have me out running (well, I shuffle and watch their firm buns disappear into the distance) every other day. They’ve both done the Run For Heroes Challenge to fund the NHS – Run 5, Donate 5. I’m up next. It’s lovely that we’re all raising funds for a national institution – just how we used to raise money for charities. In amongst the on-line Pilates, ping pong, mini-badminton, and endless training runs, I’m feeling primed and ready. Even so, I’m a bit anxious. Things can so easily go wrong, can’t they?

A shuffle in the Berwick sunshine. What could possibly go wrong?

Yesterday I knocked out a brioche loaf while the Husband went through the numerous and baffling sourdough steps. The whole process of creating a sourdough lasts two days. At least. Why does the dough have to go in the fridge overnight, we ask? Why do you split the dough between two tins? If the loaf’s not big enough, why not just put the whole lot in one tin? He retaliates by telling me I taste like a human-sized ready salted crisp after I come back from a run. But his taunt is rather endearing. Who wouldn’t want to be married to a giant crisp? I feel bolstered rather than beleaguered.

Look at the brioche on that!

It’s difficult to imagine Boris Johnson having any insecurities. He could turn beleaguered into bolstered by mumbling a few incoherent sentences. He’s very like Trump in his ability to shake off the most extraordinary statements and actions (things that would be self-sabotaging for anyone else). The kind of guy who could bounce back even after infecting loads of people with coronavirus by shaking hands with them. Mind you, they called Tony Blair ‘Teflon Tony’…

The Husband’s back in the kitchen today. I hear a little sigh. His loaf has fallen short of expectations again. However, as with all things, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. And, despite our teasing, we devour his bread-offerings with gusto.

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3 thoughts on “Living the Covid dream

  1. Joe Lang on said:

    Yup, under-proved. I’ve just spent an enlightening few minutes on YouTube with Paul Hollywood. He’s drawn my attention to those telltale splits along the sides and been rather strict about them. I am not allowed to make this mistake again, or there will be trouble. Ah well, back to the kneading board… *Hangs head, returns to Square One*

    The Husband

  2. Love it! Thanks for this Jackie and good luck with your run in the morning. I’ve got a bit of a hamstring thing going on so I think I’ll skip my run and lug the bike out
    tomorrow.

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