Smokey the Magnificent

Failing the Turing Test since 1986


1. How can teddy bears still be “unawares” when they get attacked by bananas in pyjamas every freaking Tuesday? Isn’t that the sort of incident that might stick in one’s mind? Don’t you think after the fifth or sixth horrifying incident, one of them might say as he contemplated his own fluffy viscera, “Y’know, old sport, I’m beginning to think these attacks aren’t random”?

2. This is a portion of my small sister Ruth, along with some biscuits I made her. The photo was taken by my larger sister Betty Scandretti, because she knows how.

I’ll be interested to learn if she remembers us taking this photo. She wasn’t exactly firing on all cylinders at the time. Mostly just lay there, seeping. I don’t mean to criticise, but a true hostess would have made us a cup of something.

3. By popular demand, by which I mean, Trish asked me: here is a photo of the cake I made for the fiftieth wedding anniversary of the parents-in-law of a friend.

It has a slightly angsty history.

See, I had done a cake or so for the friend in question before, and as a result, she rashly trusted my judgment on the decoration front. “Whatever you like; I’m sure it will be lovely”, quoth she, and I, in a fit of sentiment, responded with “Was there a particular Bible verse or something they had at their wedding which I could pipe on the cake?”

Friend – Mrs K, I’ll call her, because she is, sort of – said “Ooh, that’ll be lovely” and went to find out. Apparently fifty years of marriage had destroyed both the orders of service and the memories of the bride and groom, so we never did learn which verse they had: but Mrs K still liked the idea, so decided to go with a bit from (brace yourselves) 1 Corinthians 13.

Which was all very well, except I couldn’t think of a way to decorate the cake, and now I’d locked myself in to covering much of it with a piped verse, which rather limited my options. So I masked the cake, and then sat and stared at it for a few hours. Eventually I hit on the idea of using more fondant to create a textured tone-on-tone picture of a little wee church-house on a hill, with a spreading tree and a path and a demure little bride and groom standing at the bottom, and then I could write the verse around the edge.

So I tried that, before remembering that I am too autistic to create credible representations of the human form. Every bride and groom I created looked like American Gothic crossed with Tim Burton’s idea of a Waldorf doll. It was unnerving. I toyed with the idea of merely suggesting the bridal pair with a dress and long gloves, and a suit and top hat, hovering in the air, and had actually gotten as far as cutting out the dress before I reluctantly acknowledged the idea was a bit too Picnic at Hanging Rock for a wedding anniversary. (It was rather late at night by this time, you understand.)

So in the end I thought: stow it all, I’ll just leave the bride and groom out altogether. Just have the church-house and hill and tree, and write the verse in the empty space on the sky and grass.

And thus I did. And it was pretty nice, I thought. But then, at about six minutes to midnight, as I stared tiredly down at the finished product, my fondant-addled brain went “One sec”. And I realised that sans bride and groom, the white church-house on its white hill with its white tree looked rather… well, stark. And “Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres” was suddenly seeming a tad more poignant than I intended.

In short, I had accidentally created in glorious ivory fondant a picture which tastefully suggested to the loving couple, “One of you has DIED”.

I tried to fix it. I got up early next morning and put some tiny hearts around the church – the kitsch factor was regrettable, but I hoped it might indicate that Joyful Events were Happening Within. It could have just indicated extreme religious fervour, though. And then I thought a couple of birdies might indicate spring and fertility and general canoodling, so I made one, and it turned out looking like a raven. I nearly decided to just go with it and make some vultures and a little fondant graveyard, but rallied and eventually produced two slightly less sinister birds. Then I waited with some trepidation for Mrs K.

Fortunately, she liked it. And apparently, so did her parents-in-law. I don’t know if they were all just being polite, or if the symbolism of the thing simply did not occur to them; but it was a great relief. Personally, I’m still not sure. But here is a (somewhat rubbish) photo, so you can decide for yourselves.

  1. Betty Scandretti

    I saw Ruth yesterday, and I got a cup of something.

  2. Trish

    Nice cake. Cool. Understated.

    It’s funny how details left out or put in can change the whole tone of a thing. Reminds me of the time one Christmas when I bought a comical jigsaw puzzle for a small male cousin of a jolly old man fishing in a river, with comical fish and trees and then as I was wrapping it suddenly thought to question just why the comical old man might perhaps have such a jolly red nose, at which point I noticed the comical whiskey bottle secreted under the comical bank. Oh, and also the time my aunt gave me a freaky polyresin headless dress on a stick for a gift … lovely dress though, so I made it a nice hat out of Fimo so I could sleep in the same room as it.

    Nice to know you can do Halloween cakes though 🙂

  3. Nat

    That cake is a work of art!

    But I bet it didn’t taste as good as my lamington birthday cake! That one will go down in legend.

  4. Bob

    It is a lovely cake but I’m curious about how this relates to swine flu?