San Francisco and Riding Svetlana

Now, you know how much I love my family and nothing I’m about to say detracts from that in any way shape or form. However, last week I should have been swanning about Silicon Valley pretending to be a tech billionaire whilst meeting actual tech billionaires and learning how they became to be a tech billionaire. I would have preferred to have been there than at home having quality time with husband and two kids. Full stop.

My little jaunt had been planned for some months and I was to be part of a funky cohort of aspiring tech billionaires being shuttled to Silicon Valley by a hip organisation called Future X. For a woman of a certain age, I can honestly say that the young, hip entrepreneurs leave me befuddled and confused most of the time because quite frankly I haven’t got a clue what they’re talking about. Not to be deterred though, I was prepared to put my comfortable Ugg leopard print slippers to one side, stop knitting my poncho for a week and fly to the Valley to watch and learn.

Instead, our little band of jolly, if not slightly perturbed entrepreneurs joined the clever Silicon Valley lawyer who knows about IPO’s and selling tech businesses for squillions of dollars on a Zoom call to see if we could get any top tips. It was useful, but just not the same as flouncing about San Francisco drinking cappuccino and pretending to be Bill Gates.

As a consolation prize, I rode Svetlana. I love riding Svetlana, it’s possibly one of my most favourite things to do and since lockdown, she and I have had little contact which has left me feeling bereft. Prior to Svetlana, I had Bianca. She was sleek and white and in a way that Svetlana is dark and brooding. Bianca was stolen from my garage (long story involving Middle Child that I can’t go into for fear of berating him yet again for being a bit of a dick at times) and so with the help of my understanding insurance company I replaced her with Svetlana. We now have the world’s highest home insurance bill which EPH does not yet know about.

She is German, runs off a battery and has the strength and speed of several small pit ponies. I ride her into town for important meetings instead of taking my car which not only saves the planet, but also improves the tone of my backside and my heart rate. Whilst she was expensive to purchase, she has saved me the GDP of a small nation in parking fees in central Edinburgh and overall has given me a huge amount of pleasure.

So, when I got to ride her earlier this week I was filled with joy. Not the same joy as being on the West Coast of America with important people from Google, but still, we must take the small pleasures we can at this time.

Talking of small pleasures, Ever Patient Husband and I both agree that Monty Don from Gardner’s World and Nigella Lawson from the sultry cooking programme bearing her name ought to get together and do some light gardening slash cooking porn for people of a certain age. Monty stands about in his rugged, rustic jumpers and waves his large, soiled hands about firmly applying mulch, whilst Nigella nips down to her fridge at midnight in her silk neglige, barely concealing her ample bosom, to consume large quantities of fat filled decadent foods she has prepared earlier in the day all the time licking her plump lips and staring moodily into the camera.

This week Monty had been caught in a shower of rain and looked windswept and Byron/Heathcliff like in his potting shed as he gently pricked out baby tomato plants with his bare hands. The eroticism was palpable as the core temperature of women of a certain age (and possibly some men) across the UK rose to unprecedented levels.

Between the pair of them, they could start a channel of some kind which I know would attract millions of viewers all pretending they were watching for wholesome educational reasons which would be a lie.



Ever Patient Husband has now completed his main Important Project (see above for before and after photos) in the garden and I have to admit that it looks fabulous. He’s been working with his top off in recent days and commented that he’d released his inner “Juan” slash Mediterranean ancestors with his bronzing torso. Anyone who knows EPH will realise quite quickly that this is extreme irony. He’s about as pale as they come and being Scottish doesn’t ever tan. He turns a slightly darker pink and gets freckles. He’s less Juan and more Spam.

My final comments about the last couple of weeks in lockdown are about flour. Who is buying all the flour? Why is it in short supply? And what the fuck are they making with it? As a household I want it recorded here and now that we have always made banana loaf. I started making years ago from a Delia Smith recipe (she cooks properly and fully clothed during daylight hours) and added my own twist, namely chocolate chips. This turns a dull as fuck banana loaf into something actually delicious and edible that people really want to eat. What is the point of baking a cake and making it healthy?

Healthy cakes are for boring people who extract the joy from all vices and are likely to be the same people who eat tofu and pretend its just as delicious as steak. It is not and never will be. Those same people would argue that tofu is actually delicious as long as you add three tons of flavour to it in order to mask it’s disgusting lack of flavour. What is the fucking point of cooking with something that you have to smother with so much spice to make it remotely edible when you can eat steak?

Cries of rain forest destruction and climate change go up! Stop eating cows and we’ll save the world. Stop eating banana loaf with chocolate chips in it and we’ll also save the world! We may save the world, but we’ll die of boredom.

A healthy cake entirely defeats the object of cake. Marie Antoinette did not suggest the peasants ate cake when they were starving to death for nutritional reasons, she suggested it because it was yummy and preferable to the weevil ridden loaves they could no longer afford to buy. Cake must be full of sugar, fat, more sugar and flavour of some kind that adds deliciousness, a boat load of really bad calories and absolutely no virtuousness whatsoever, otherwise you may as well eat an apple.

Hence my introduction of dark chocolate chips to Delia’s recipe. Our family have eaten this form of banana loaf for around fifteen years now and I was affronted that others have since taken up the banana loaf mantle, although it seems very few have cottoned onto the chocolate part.

My children bake the cakes in the house these days, or to be precise, my Youngest Daughter does, since Eldest Daughter now lives in Cornwall with The Ludicrously Handsome Boyfriend (they lead an eminently Instagrammable life in quaint cottage, bake scones together and surf - I would normally scoff sarcastically, except she’s my daughter and I’m really happy for her and very proud). Youngest Daughter has cracked the banana and chocolate loaf recipe now and even turns it pink as she believes it adds flavour. Who am I to argue with an eleven year old? Pink banana loaf does indeed appear to be more delicious than plain old banana coloured banana loaf.

The trip to Silicon Valley has been rearranged for September. I‘ll let you know how I get on with the tech billionaires and whether their magic rubs off on me or indeed I understand what the fuck they’re talking about. In the meantime, I shall return to quality time with my lovely family and make approving noises whenever EPH mentions his Important Project Phase 2. I’m hoping for a hot tub.

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