The next goal was to bake 12 items per month. This has proved well beyond what I could achieve. The idea was born from the concept of a baking day, one day a week when I would be based in the kitchen and make a number of different treats: bread by hand, a tray-bake or cookies, muffins or a sponge and a fruit cake. I would have the oven on just the once for everything, not need to wash up after every mixing as I would work my way from light mixtures to darker, as explained to me by a bed-and-breakfast proprietor I met on a bread-making course, and the house would be filled with the smell of fresh-cooked goodies and my cupboards would always be full for the unexpected visitor.
It hasn't happened. Not once. I am far too busy. It is this fact that gets under my skin. Am I really too busy or do I just not make the time? Baking day became baking afternoon, but it is always the first to be cut when life throws up an unexpected complication (like a meeting with a potential student, or tradesmen in the house again).
My son has also taken on the project of a cake a week, which we are all enjoying, and the one time I did bake a cake and cookies we were over-run with cake and felt obliged to hurry up and eat it.
In thinking this through, I realise that it is a dream I have had for a number of years and one that makes me feel warm inside. I love cake, I love baking and I love having good things to offer. But perhaps it is one that I can't priorise at the moment. And, if it is so important to me, then something else needs to take the unexpected - and yet usually weekly - hit. I need to find something less important, and, if there isn't anything, accept that regular, large-scale baking will just have to wait.
I have been much more successful with the tumble-drier. Whereas my washing always went straight from machine to drier, it has become habit for me to hang it on the airer, leave it for 24 hours and fold it next morning. It is great to have the tumble-drier for soft towels, suddenly remembered football kit and those days when the amount of washing threatens to overwhelm me, but I am pleased that I have broken the unthinking habit and am living just a little bit lighter on the environment.
Both January and February have seen my eldest and I in the pub pondering his writing over a drink. He takes his goal of publishing a novel very seriously and it is important to take time out of my thought-life and enter his for a while. It hasn't felt easy to find the time, even twice, but it has been so valuableand I will be pulling out my diary and putting in red pen our next date.