Cast your mind back to 31 August 1991 – if you were a minor then, kindly keep quiet about it - this was the date Husband and I got married. We had a lovely wedding which I don’t doubt looked incredibly expensive but it involved many, many talented and generous friends.
Lovely Alan let my Dad, Husband-to-be and I loose, the morning before the wedding, in a hop field with a pair of secateurs. We took home several bines which were used as decoration in the marquee and in the house. They were used alongside Sally (from over the road)’s skills as a trainee florist; her husband Peter collected vintage cars and offered with a friend to drive the bridal parties to and from the church in a variety of different cars …
My Mum’s friend Brenda made cakes. How innocent and hobbyish that sounds, but really she made incredible, bloody marvellous cakes that would have cost hundreds of pounds to buy from a specialist company. Ours was five hexagons (which was representative of chemistry symbols as this was what Husband did) and was decorated with handmade sugar tiger lilies, gypsophila and ivy. Here’s quite a crappy picture of the cake (remember, photography wasn’t so good in those days):
Anyway, post wedding, my Mum – ever wishful – put aside the top tier for the first grandchild.
Fast forward three years to 1994 – we need the first tier of the wedding cake to eat at Son’s christening. Where is it? Uhm, it’s safe … somewhere … but so safe, no-one is quite sure where it is. No matter, Brenda offers to make us another cake. The cake is a single cake decorated with handmade sugar acorns, blackberries, brambles and autumnal leaves. This time, photography has moved on a bit:
Now, fast forward again – seventeen years from the wedding date - to the summer of 2008, big strapping Son and less strapping Daughter are staying with their grandparents in Kent, the very same house in which their Mum and Dad celebrated their wedding. About 5am in the morning the household is woken by an alarm; the power has gone out. My Dad diagnoses that the chest freezer in the pantry in the basement is responsible and in the subsequent hours and days a mass excavation of the chest freezer and the storage around it, follows.
And, guess what is found? Yup, the top tier, some fourteen years too late, of our wedding cake. This is when I arrive in the UK. My mother is delighted to have found the cake and wants to invite Brenda – who she has sort of lost touch with – for tea. Can you imagine, my sister and I whisper, how horrible it will be?
My mother is persuaded that the risk is too great so when Husband arrives in the UK, there is a presentation of our cake, and we are asked to cut it. I push the knife hard into the icing, through the marzipan and into the cake at a most amateur angle and big gust of brandy engulfs me. The cake looks marvellous, it smells out of this world and it tastes incredible.