The first 7 months 18 days
26 MARCH 2022
Well, Babette died, left me, abandoned me (emotions that I felt and continue to feel) just over seven months and 18 days ago. But no, I’m not actually counting the days, I just thought it was quite a catchy title and of course, sadly, it is my and our reality. At times it feels as if it were yesterday, but, in fact, most of the time it feels much longer ago than seven or so months. (Please note; this is one of those weeks where I’ve indulged myself in reflection, so I’m going to go on a bit. If these meanders aren’t your cup of tea then ignore the first seven paras to get to the juicy bit below!)
The time since she died has been a very strange one. As you would doubtless imagine, its been sad, sometimes devastating, sometimes overwhelming loneliness, sometimes disbelief that I will never again have a conversation with her and I loved most of the conversations, even though some were really challenging, (especially when I knew I’d not behaved thoughtfully or responsibly, guilt mitigated when we’d both been a bit off colour!), never to feel her hand in mine, never feel her body pressed to mine in a hug, and she was only 61. It seems so unfair. Those are some of the feelings that accompanied her death, and since then, the lack of her presence. Ironically, add to them a fear of forgetting her, feeling guilty for not thinking about her more, guilt for actually going out and enjoying myself, and I could have a pretty toxic cocktail whizzing round my brain….?
But, as she often said “Everything that happens to us in life is good”, and there have been huge positives to come out of her death. Because to my surprise, delight, puzzlement and actually, to my astonishment, new friendships have been forged, existing friendships strengthened, old but dormant friendships renewed on a scale that this introvert can barely comprehend. On top of that, I’ve been encouraged to join a choir, which was harder than I expected, been persuaded to start dancing classes, which has been every bit as hard as I expected, if not worse (but GOOD FOR ME…!) and the odd thing is that although they are both things Babette and I talked of doing (especially the choir) I know in my heart, that had she still been alive, we probably wouldn’t have got round to it! Odd or what!
The other evening I was round at friends for supper (Andrew and Shirley Stone, old friends that go back to when our children were young) and Shirley asked me how I really am (behind the façade of ok-ness) and in the ensuing conversation, I talked both about the feelings I’ve just mentioned above, and also about the ways in which Babette continues to live on in me and others with whom she came into contact. Not a week goes by when I don’t see either those in my family, or my friends and colleagues, expressing things that I know have a Babette-ian influence about them. Something in them that Babette’s relationship with them changed. Quite often its starts when someone says “I can hear Babette’s voice in my head saying such and such” and very often it’s a challenge or has a challenging element to it…. what a surprise!
It can make me chuckle and want to cry all at the same time! And of course I see it in myself and the way she influenced my thinking.
Why write about this in a sales email? Well, two reasons probably. Very few men will easily say what they are feeling, but I’m not afflicted with that “inhibition”. Having been in and out of the therapist's chair since I was in my late twenties, I’ve actually discovered a lot about myself, the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. Indeed, I think of therapy as part of my personal development, part of continuous improvement, with which I’m somewhat obsessed, part of growing up, which I will cheerfully admit I’m still learning to do and still getting wrong sometimes. Yes, so one reason is that I’m happy to share my thoughts and feelings quite openly. So far, my experience tells me, no one has laughed at me, or if they have, they’ve done it when I wasn’t there. And from time to time I get feedback that what I’ve said has provoked further thought. What a compliment and very motivating!
My second reason is that we don’t talk about death nearly enough (very often not at all) and treat it as if were something that only happens to others. This maybe a more comfortable stance in the short term, but I think it’s very healthy to talk about it, and it will ease things when the inevitable happens. Certainly, being forewarned about Babette’s death enabled not just her and I to come to terms with it (to an extent), but also for our family, colleagues and friends as well. My thought is simply that to lose her was bad enough. To have lost her without being able to "discuss" her death and other stuff and without being able to say goodbye, would have been a challenge of another order of magnitude altogether… Obviously many do have to go through just that experience, I’m very glad I didn’t. I was very lucky.
Ok to product!
Sexy Colanders and Boring Cake tins.
For a bloke who loves cake and has a talented pastry chef of a daughter, I can be remarkably inconsistent (which, is the most terrible admission, as in our family I’m credited with insisting on more than the odd occasion, “that CONSISTENCY IS A GREAT QUALITY) by which, I mean, I’ve very little interest in cake making, and none whatsoever in cake decorating …..ooops I now hear all the cake makers and decorators in the company, drawing in a sharp breath, through pursed lips…. Tut tut. So, when Jeanne (the aforementioned pastry chef) got enthused about cake tins, and in this case the American company Nordicware*, the other day her eyes lit up, and they sort of sparkled with excitement as she pawed over their catalogue, choosing design after design after design. And as we’ve had a good year I thought let her go to town. She didn’t disappoint! And, as a result we’ve now more of the wretched things then you could shake a stick at. Far too many to mention in this email in fact.
So what can I, a self-confessed cake tin neanderthal, tell you about them. Well, from a technical point of view, they are actually a very good product, and I say that simply because the body of the cake tin is an aluminium alloy casting (good for heat spread) with, I’m guessing, somewhere around 2-3mm thickness of material. This makes them strong and gives enough metal to spread the heat evenly. They are then non stick coated, which they do really need I suspect, to be able to release the quite intricate patterns that some of the tins have.
Prices vary between £48.00 and £63.00. Which I personally think is rather expensive for a cake tin, but once again it seems I’m out of touch with reality because they do just sell. However, in case you agree with me (that they are expensive) then for this weekend I’m offering 20% off their RRP. So as an example, a £60 Silver Heritage Bundtlette Pan this will come down to £48 after discount. Not a bargain I’ll admit, but better than nothing.
Tell us who you are if coming into the shops. Use code NORDIC20 if you’re buying on the website!
*(Nordicware have carved out a real niche for themselves in the cast aluminium cake tin market)
Can a colander be sexy?
The answer is a resounding yes, if it’s made by my chums at Zwilling. A little while ago they came up with three sizes of colander that are of typical Zwilling quality (high) and just gorgeous to look at.
So, instead of the usual polished stainless steel body drilled in the base and sides to let the water through, the Zwilling approach was to use a smooth perforated mesh with holes all over the body, which for some reason I think is just lovely to look at. They then topped that with a brushed stainless steel frame to give rigidity and provide handles.
They are available in three sizes, 16cm(£19.95), 20cm(£24.95) and 24cm(£29.95) and, as with the Nordicware, you can take 20% off their price this weekend. Tell us who you are if bricks and mortar shopping, use code SEXY20 on the website.
Zwilling Stainless Steel Colander
The Zwilling Stainless Steel Colander 24cm, designed by Matteo Thun and Antonio Rodriguez, combines style and functionality.
Ideal for washing fruit and vegetables, draining pasta, cooked foods and more.
The durable and sturdy stainless steel colander will make a useful and stylish addition in your kitchen.
We are looking for people
We are looking for
Warehouse manager. The candidate could be either someone with experience in leading people or maybe someone who we train ourselves for the role. The right attitude is the predominant characteristic that we are looking for, in anyone who we want to join us. Pretty well everything else can be learnt or taught in the role.
Part timer Reigate shop
Full / Part time Cobham shop
Part timer Banstead shop
The right people for these roles will relate well to people, love cooking, have a positive attitude to life and generally have a thirst for learning new skills.
I’m off to further abuse my dancing instructor (or he me…I’m unsure) and do a bit more work on my "Why", I hope!
I trust you have a pleasant and peaceful weekend.
Andrew Bluett-Duncan Director