I left for a two-day work trip before Bert finished pre-school on Monday. So I wrote a note for him – ‘I love you, gorgeous Bert, love from Mum xxx’. I drew a roaring dinosaur, folded it in half, wrote his name on the front and secured it in the jaws of the dinosaur on his bedside table.
The trip was fine but today was a true sod. Bert woke me up at 5 and stayed awake. I had two big, stressful arguments. I dropped and broke the phone I bought yesterday. I had a reprimanding email from a client about something relatively small, which I found excruciating. Pudding was a disaster. (We had this crumble a few days ago and it was delicious – but if anyone wants the recipe for black tarte tatin, I’m happy to share.)
I got in the bath at Bert’s bedtime and he called me back to clear up a poo. I got back in and almost straight away he called for me again.
When I opened his door he was clunching my note in his hand. It was folded over and over and crumpled up. He held it out.
‘Do you want me to straighten it?’ I said, reaching for it.
‘No,’ he said, ‘I want you to throw it in the bin.’
‘I don’t like the words.’
‘The words I wrote?’
‘Read then to me,’ he said.
I read it out.
‘I don’t like the words. Throw it in the bin.’
I obediently put it in the bin and found another reason to cry a bit later.
But at least he still falls gorgeously and hotly asleep on me and lets me eat most of the crumble.
1 punnet of plums, cored and chopped into eight or so pieces each
2 tablespoons soft brown sugar
6 or 8 cubes of crystallized ginger, chopped up into smaller pieces
230g plain flour
115g butter, cold and in small pieces
90g soft brown sugar
Level teaspoon ground ginger
Put the plums in a pan with 2 tablespoons of sugar and the chopped, crystallised ginger, and cook on a low heat on the hob while you prepare the crumble topping. Pre heat the oven to 200/ gas mark six.
Breadcrumb the flour and butter, by rubbing between your fingers or pulsing in a food processor. Stir through the sugar, bran and ground ginger. By now the plums should be starting to soften. Tip them into an ovenproof dish, cover with crumble topping and bake for 30 minutes, till the fruit is bubbling up round the edges.