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Baking Cakes For Gub

I accepted a proposal of marriage under false pretences. I was pretty sure that the husband I was getting knew his way around electric power tools. He may not have categorically stated that he could rewire a house or plumb in a washing machine but he made all those ‘yeah, uhuh, I see what we need to do here’ noises that lulled me. And he looked the part with a separate ‘messy work’ wardrobe, arriving in the relationship with a vast collection of screwdrivers and the requirement of a shed to house them in.

It turns out, and I know I am not the first to be duped, that the equipment owned does not match the knowledge needed. I feel a bit of a fool. Although I am having to hold my tongue in case he spins the argument and points it at my sewing machine, overlocker and comprehensive archive of haberdashery. Still, one of the reasons for buying such a state of a house was because I had the man for the job, someone who could at least put the rails up for the curtains I am never going to be able to make.

Not so and now furtively, duplicitously and with no choice in the matter, I have found someone else. Gub, 6 foot 4 in his darned stockinged feet has turned up far from the Madding Crowd with a rusty old pick up truck and access to a digger. Being a friend of a friend of a friend (all three of whom giving him different lurid versions of our plight) he politely called me for a ‘too busy, very sorry, can’t stop, your own stupid fault, made your bed, have you tried the yellow pages’ conversation. The call turned into a promise to pop by. The pop by became an hour with tea (two heaped sugars) and a large slice of Dundee cake and the agreement to spare a day to ‘get us back on our feet’. The day (topped off with a basket of muffins to take home to his yurt) has now become the next 4 weekends. And love is in the air. The Husband and the Sons are completely head over heels for Gub. They can’t wait for his next visit, ‘what would Gub do’ they say ('get dressed for bloody school', I say), if there were posters of him they would be on bedroom walls, they are eyeing up the fuse box, large pencils tucked behind tiny ears. All of us are scribbling additions to his To Do list as the idea of saying goodbye is too ghastly to contemplate. Eldest Son wants him to help build a den with escape hatch and look out tower. Youngest Son wants to sit in his digger and share the large wedges of madeira cake I am lovingly baking for him. The Husband spends all day with him under the guise of learning how to build things so he can finish the job. In the middle of this adulation Gub the Great perches on a half built stone wall (job 4), rolls a ciggie and takes in the mayhem with the sort of calm that comes from a lovely soul. And a sureness that makes me feel for the first time that the enormity of our task is becoming a little less daunting. Almost exciting. So much so that, even though we are still living in the outhouse, I have taken our first B&B booking for the new year. Just off now to add this to Gub’s list once I have got his ginger cake out of the oven…


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