But I was thinking, yet again, of the way time crumples when you undertake annual tasks. Stir-up Sunday, familiar to generations of Anglicans as the day when the collect for the day reminded them that it was high time to stir up their puddings and such for Christmas, may have morphed into the feast of Christ the King, with the collect only mentioned before the service in case any of us was relying on it, but my fruit has been soaking in booze for a week and now the cake is in the oven. Two years ago I wrote a poem about the same sense of a folding in time, when the intervening years vanish in the routine (lining the cake tin - still the same palaver) and smells of cake-making.
Today I was recalling the first time I baked my own cake, instead of going back to sample my mother's cake and perhaps purloin some for our own house. I was on maternity leave, it was cold, and I had slipped on the frosty pavement in Clarence Drive, having gone to the shops before the sun reached that spot. At that time a good stone over my usual weight (I'd think nothing of it now - darn!) I came down with a crash on my rear end. Panic and pain. Would the baby be all right? (yes - still is, as far as I know) Had I cracked my coccyx? (probably, but nothing was done about it). Whatever long-term problems might arise, it was too sore to sit down that afternoon, so to take my mind off the pain and the angst I baked a Christmas cake.
Actually, the memory makes it sound more spontaneous than it must've been; I recall I had planned things, had been given a recipe by a friend whose cake I'd enjoyed, so I must have had the fruit soaking and needed only the impetus to turn it into something. That self-same cake from the self-same recipe is now in the oven, about to have its hat put on and the temperature lowered. Before I go to bed I shall pour the fruity left-over booze over it and wrap it up carefully, and another year will begin (I'm kinda governed by the liturgical, I fear). Perhaps the child who did not suffer from the fall will phone. Life will stagger on.
And then there are puddings to turn to ...