his weekend, a message popped up on my phone screen that set off a domino run of panic in my mind.
“I was thinking this morning…”, said one of my closest friends, the one I got to know in the school library when we were both chubby little book nerds, “Can we have a Christmassy London weekend?”
A moment’s consideration and a flip through my mental diary later, I realised I only have one weekend free between now and 2015. How did that happen? How can I fit everything in? When did I become a person who says, Sorry, I’m all booked up till next year?
Me and two friends went to a recording of Live at the Apollo recently, and came away utterly bamboozled. The line-up – predominantly, white, male, middle-aged and middle class – made the same jokes, mostly digs at their wives and children and young people. One of the sets centered around being young and perpetually drunk and irresponsible.
Through every quip about splashing cash and getting wasted every night, we frowned at each other, utterly perplexed. I don’t know anyone who lives up to that stereotype.
It’s weird to think that overdrafts and stumbling in at 6am are what’s expected of twenty-somethings. I see it when people ask, on a Monday morning, when the little staff kitchen at work is filled with bleary eyes and double-scoop coffees, “How was your weekend?”, waiting to hear tales of debauchery, although in reality I’m bursting to say “IT WAS BRILLIANT. I slept till 10am and finished a book!” Instead, it feels like there’s an obligation to toss aside the small things, to sift through those 50-something hours to find any nuggets of what is expected.
The thing is, we’re all weirdly in-between. Two years out of university but still only a few metres into navigating the ocean that is the modern job market; trying to put money aside for a house, maybe, at some point in the future, but still working out where we belong. More pub than club, but not yet risotto over burgers. And more hardworking than any stand-up will ever admit.
I’m lucky to have a group of talented, driven friends, always tipping each other off and encouraging to pushpushpush. They’re writing books and making records and on a never-ending quest to keep learning. They’re people whose diaries are full and have pages dedicated to long to-do lists, and yes, Sorry, I’m all booked up till next year. Contrary to the assumptions of those comedians, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
So when those elusive free weekends come around, you’ll find me doing all the things that get sifted out: fingers curled around a mug of hot chocolate, surrounded by notebooks; movie nights with friends; and getting some quality time with butter and sugar. Heavy with the spices we so treasure in the winter months, these gingerbread whirls are sure to feature, along with a cup of coffee and a good book.
Inspired by Mr Kipling. Yields approximately 12 whirls
75g icing sugar
|* I’d advise using a fork to incorporate them before using a mixer, to avoid billowing icing sugar clouds.|