Friday, 8 May 2015

Marble cake and gift bags!

I've been tired and overwrought all day. We stayed up late, viewing the election through our fingers, hardly daring to watch the monstrous catastrophe which was unfolding. I think one of the problems with the good citizens of this country is that they tend to absent-mindedly vote Tory. It's like a sort of default "restore factory" setting. At the end of the day I suspect most aspirational people feel they're personally going to be better off under a conservative government. There's obviously guilt involved somewhere in that thinking, which is why so few people (particularly young people) actually own up to voting Tory. It's a sort of guilty pleasure. You know it's going to cause problems for everyone else, but you do it to save your own skin!

How many people actually stand in the polling station, holding their pencil stub attached to string, and think "I wonder what will happen to the NHS if I vote this way?" Or "I don't like the idea of straight bananas, but I wonder what will actually happen to our economy if we pull out of Europe? Does anyone stand there and wonder what the consequences of our spending four billion pounds on nuclear weapons will be? We may well think that people on benefits have it easy, but do we spare a thought for our friends and loved ones who might suddenly fall on hard times and find themselves desperate for benefits which no longer exists? Do we consider the hard-working people who have struggled horrendously as a result of wave after wave of cuts in the arts, education and policing?

I genuinely don't understand why we don't seem to...

Anyway. I cried uncontrollably throughout the morning. I now know exactly how my father felt in successive elections throughout the 80s and 90s. Of course I had a very personal reason to feel sad. Our MP, Lynne, was unceremoniously shunted out of office. It's no real consolation that she was ousted by a Labour person. It simply means we've lost another caring and compassionate politician, and there are precious few of them around. Besides, no one who kicked a Lib Dem MP out of office should feel proud of their achievements, just as very few SNP MPs can feel like their charisma and political aptitude played any role in their election. They simply got lucky. They merely rode a national wave of hatred...

The truth be told I cried most of all this morning because I genuinely don't know if Nathan and I will be able to survive another five years of Tory government indifference to the arts and the brutal cuts which will continue to happen. Theatres will close. Children will be deprived of art in schools. The standard of UK musicians on the world stage will diminish. I am beginning to think our personal futures may well exist on the other side of the Atlantic...

Anyway. I digress. We have to make do and mend, and I'm sure we'll shuffle onwards in one way or another.

As a sort of ridiculous counterpoint to the tragedy of the morning, at lunchtime, Nathan and I went into Central London to pick up our BAFTA gift bags. Exciting? Camp! We've not yet opened them up. These exclusive gift bags are given to all nominees and are apparently filled with little feminine gifts, trinkets and special deals. We had to sign for them and take ID in with us, which is unsurprising when you see the calibre of names on the list! Nathan was next to Catherine Tate! What I do know is that there's a handbag in there... So ladies reading this, if you get a little special etwas for Christmas, you know where it came from! Peering inside I can also see a box of Mac makeup. Handy for those blemishes...

We're not expected to win our category. The grapevine suggests that Richard Attenborough has it in the can, and The Guardian thinks that  Grayson Perry will edge it over us. We're the underdogs.

Anyway, we came home from BAFTA with our fancy gift bags and went to the Poundstretcher in Kentish Town! Call us ostentatious if you like, but that's the way we roll!

The rest of the day has been spent preparing for the quiz, which seems to have involved doing nothing but baking cakes. I've made lemon drizzle, chocolate chip cookies and a chocolate and orange marble cake. Abbie has joined us and is making a lavender cake, cus she's fancy like that.

When she arrived, we went to Highgate Woods to take a photograph of Nathan's stunningly beautiful knitting commission, which he then sent off to America. It's the last time we'll ever see the item, which he's been knitting solidly, and with love, every hour in every day for the past month. Sadly it started spitting with rain, which doesn't bode well for the shoot on Sunday. Can I get a collective "please don't rain too much on Saturday so it's not muddy on Sunday"?

Still, we might get a rainbow. Did you know that the colours on a double rainbow are reversed? Does this mean the double rainbow is actually a reflection of the first rainbow? This particular question has just been raised, alongside talk about brocken spectres, which, for the uninitiated, are curiously beautiful phenomena where creepy shadows appear in the centre of a circular rainbow. They're usually seen from above, often from a mountain top, when the person viewing the spectre is looking down into a cloud. They're also fairly often seen from aeroplanes! Google the word and see for yourself... Of course there's a scientific explanation, which I won't go into because it spoils the magic and mystery of the occurrence, but whatever its cause, the results are remarkable.

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