Sunday, August 22, 2010

Flying and a cake-eating cat.

Yes, you heard me right, this week has really been rather crazy.

I had better start with the cake first. This was a bit of a disaster, edible and quite nice, but not good. I tried a recipe from a new book I had been given some months ago. Queen cakes - an old fashioned style of cake I had made many times from a recipe in my old recipe book. (I think the Americans might call these cup cakes, they are basically a small sponge cake made with sultanas, rather than the type covered with sweet icing.) The resulting cakes were good to eat, but rather greasy for my taste. Next time I shall halve the amount of fat used. They really were far too oily.
Well, I left these on my wire rack to cool. There is not usually any danger to cakes left like this. However, when my husband returned he found the unmistakeable signs that the cakes had been lovingly licked by a cat. Felix!

The cakes that had been definitely touched were thrown out for the birds. Well, I should say here that the birds never got to touch these. Felix found them on the lawn and we were treated to the sight of our idiotic cat licking and nibbling the bits. Madness. Needless to say I threw out the remaining cakes since we could not be certain which had been touched and which hadn't............
This morning, by comparison was surreal.
We were out of the house by 5.15 am. Yes, you did read that correctly. We had been given a present months ago - a ride for both my husband and myself in a hot air balloon.
Take off was gentle. We slipped away and up into the air. The burners are switched on every so often to keep a certain height above the ground.
When these are not on, it is so quiet, you can even hear the sound of the ducks on the water.

Its astonishing to think that the basket is only held up by hot air. It is a basket too. Hefty and strong enough to carry the weight of twelve passengers. Can you see the sky through the sides?

I took around ninety photos. I know I shall use these as inspiration over the next few months. I loved the patterns of the hedges, the colours of the fields, those long shadows, the textures, colours...................
The landing was an interesting experience. A couple of bumps and we were down. The basket toppled onto it's side and we were dragged for a few yards.

It was a wonderful experience and one I would urge you to try if you ever get the chance. We had an hour long flight, starting at an interesting place called Dearnford Lake, near to Whitchurch. We travelled for 16 miles due east, landing in a field not far a place called Madeley.
As I started writing this, Felix came to join me. I quote


He likes to have the last word, my opinionated cat.


Christine said...

Mandy, sounds like you had a great time flying. We used to wake up to the whooshing of balloons on our holidays at Canowindra in NSW, a well-known place where an international ballooning festival is held in April. Got to love black and white cats, such characters, miss both of ours terribly.
Christine in spring-like Sydney Australia.

Toni said...

Oh, that sounds like such fun!!!!!

I'm trying to think of what the cakes would have been called here. If they're in muffin tins, I believe they're automatically called cupcakes, but we're such a sugar-oriented country that I don't think I've ever seen cupcakes without tons & tons of icing (frosting) on them. :)

Mandy said...

Hi Christine, glad to bring back memories of your holidays. I have never seen more than one or two balloons at a time. There must be some balloon gatherings in this country, I must try and find out where they are.
Yes there is something about black and white cats - Felix in particular - but I do love my cats dearly.
Hello Toni, I'm sorry I have given you a puzzle over those cake names. I shall write out the older recipe in my next post, the one I like using, so you can try it for yourself. They are much smaller than muffins - about half the size, and tasty rather than sweet.
And yes, that balloon ride was great fun.

Jenny said...

Sounds like Felix was saying thank you for the cakes.

Hot air ballooning, have not tried that one yet. We sometimes see them go over home, drifting oh so silently across the sky. Glad you enjoyed the ride.

Mandy said...

I hope he was. Sadly I do not speak cat, but have learnt to understand most of his needs over the years. These are usually simple - food, milk, cuddles. However, I did end up having to follow him once. He was rather anxious since his sister had got locked into my neightbours greenhouse.............

Liz said...

Your balloon ride sounds wonderful. Now I am determined to find a balloon myself! Too funny about your cat. Pets do have strong opinions, don't they?

Mandy said...

Yes, Felix is great fun to have around. He is a lovely cat.........
I do hope you manage to get a ride in a hot air balloon. Good luck with finding one.