A wild slim alien


Strawberry cream cake


I’m partial to the richness of Terran cuisine. My daughter likes to bake. She no longer bothers to weigh the ingredients when mixing them; cakes come out of the oven just so. I eat a lot of cake. It’s a wonder I’m still a slim wild alien.

She makes one for her mother to take into work. Only the following day it’s forgotten; an emergency cake run is required. Mounted on a circular baking sheet, the strawberry-topped cream cake slides about on its plate like a curling stone on ice. I attempt to wedge the plate in the passenger seat footwell using map books, but despite driving carefully, it still flies off the plate at the first bend.

My driving is a standing family joke. But theirs is an outmoded notion, based on my formative years as a driver. Alright, I still have a tendency to think of a car as a mobile hi-fi, but it’s only in the last six years that I’ve driven regularly. I’m so much closer to 10,000 hours than I was.

Outside a school, mothers look on aghast as a lollipop man steps into my path – I have to brake suddenly. He’s ancient, and when he scowls at me, it’s like an imp from the buttress of a gothic cathedral come to life; centuries of locked-in scorn is unleashed in my direction. Forgive me, I had eyes only for the cake. Fortunately the damage is limited to one toppled strawberry. The rest of the journey unfolds without incident. The cake is safely delivered, swiftly demolished, and greatly admired.

The moral? When driving, pay no heed to the easily ruined cake in the footwell of the passenger seat. Or, should you have a prolific apprentice baker in the house, buy in a stock of cake boxes.