Oh how I’ve missed you, my friends. Remember when I told you about “the olds” coming for Christmas? Shortly after they returned home, one came back. John’s dad who’s 92 needed a break.
Mentally, he’s 100% and can remember things that happened in the 1940s plus he can remember exactly what he had for dinner last week. He’s a real joy to talk to and he’s got the sweetest personality. I told him before he left that I’d want to be his friend even if I wasn’t related.
He’s Charlie’s newest best friend and when he wasn’t researching optics on the Internet (he’s a retired physics lecturer) he was tossing the little blue ball that Charlie has placed behind him on the chair.
I know I should have tidied up before I took the photo but I was standing there with my iPad and I had to take the opportunity. To be honest, he stayed like that for about 20 minutes AFTER I took the photo but I just knew if I went rushing around he would move and I’d miss the shot.
One thing Gramps likes to do almost as much as researching on the web or reading and answering emails is eat. This man can eat better than any teenager I’ve ever seen. Give him bacon, eggs, toast, fried tomato, sautéed mushrooms AND a dish of fresh mango and he’ll eat every bite.
Then he’s ready for lunch and by dinner he’s looking to see what’s going on in the kitchen. I started writing down a menu so he’d know in advance. That’s when he said:
“Mango again for breakfast? Mmmm. And blueberry pancakes? What sort of syrup?”
The only thing about his visit was the rainy weather. He was with us for a bit over two weeks and it rained every single day. We did get out a few times but he’s a slow walker. The house seems really big without him. We don’t do morning tea or afternoon tea or breakfast or even lunch if he’s not here (and yes I’m sure I weigh more than the last time we talked). We work instead. Maybe he’ll come back soon but until then I’m back to doing what I love most.
One morning I asked him if he wanted a cup of tea and I got the usual, “Is anyone else having one?” I said yes, I would have one with him and then John came down to join us too. I was baking some hot cross buns and they finished just as the tea was pouring. No time for the crosses – we had fruit buns instead.
To enhance his dining pleasure I said, “Rob, when’s the last time you had homemade butter?”
“I can’t remember, maybe I’ve never had it,” he said.
I’d bought some cream and I was on a mission — a mission to spoil. I have a Thermomix and it only takes a minute and a half to make butter so don’t think I REALLY went out of my way because I didn’t. Still, homemade butter on hot fruit buns was SO good and he ate three of them. (remember I told you the man knows how to eat? AND he’s 92??)
Australian hot cross buns have their crosses made of flour and water and they’re baked in – not what a good old American woman would eat. Give me that icing cross any day, please. It won’t be long before Easter so I have time to practice my crosses.
- 2 packets dried yeast
- 310 ml (1¼ cups) milk, warmed
- 60 g (1/4 cup) caster sugar
- 600 g (4 cups) plain flour
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground mixed spice
- 1 tsp salt
- 60 g butter
- 1 cup sultanas (golden raisins)
- ¾ cup dried currants
- 2 eggs
- Place the yeast, warm milk and caster sugar in a bowl and stir until the sugar dissolves. Set aside for 10 minutes.
- Sift plain flour with cinnamon, mixed spice and salt into a large bowl. Cut in the butter or use your fingertips to rub it in.
- Add eggs and yeast mixture and mix and then add the sultanas and currants and mix til well combined.
- Turn out dough onto a floured surface and knead for 5 minutes.
- Place in a large greased bowl and leave in a warm spot for ¾ – 1 hour until double in size.
- Punch down, knead again until smooth and shape into 12 balls.
- Place in a greased baking tray or use baking paper.
- Let rise for 15-30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 200C (400F).
- Bake for 10 minutes and then reduce temperature to 180C/350F and bake another 15 minutes.
- While hot, brush with melted apricot jam or sugar syrup to make them shine.
It feels good to be back but we miss having him around, especially Charlie.