Let’s pretend for a moment that the BBC were interested in a 5-a-side football match in Exeter on a Tuesday evening (they weren’t).
Let’s say BBC 5 Live had shown up (they hadn’t).
Imagine if you logged on and the BBC website was running text commentary on the game (they weren’t).
If they had, then it might have gone a little like this (but it, clearly, didn’t):
A mere five minutes into the game and I found myself on the floor, clutching my ankle and making an “ooooh, ooooh, ooooh” sort of noise. I had done exactly the same thing to my right ankle back in 2010 so I was fairly sure that I knew what was to come. That, to be specific, would be quite a lot of pain, swelling, some odd clicking noises, bruising and the need to wear a constant grimace whilst trying to walk.
Realising that I was of no use to anyone out on the pitch, on account of not being able to walk, I went in goal. Where I was no use to anyone, on account of being rubbish in goal.
The drive home afterwards, in a car with a ridiculously stiff clutch pedal, was about as much fun as I expected it to be; at least there is a lot of dual carriageway between Exeter and Ashburton, which required little from my ballooning left ankle. Mrs RB had treated us to her favourite pea and potato curry a couple of days earlier, using up the last of our peas, so I had to make do with a bag of frozen runner beans. Sadly, we hadn’t chopped the runner beans before freezing them and it turns out to trickier than you would think to mould a bag of four inch long, rock hard beans around your ankle. I think it probably did help the swelling though.
But the point of all of this is that, come this Tuesday, I was not to be found on the football pitch, preparing to unleash my mediocrity once again upon an unsuspecting opposition. Instead, I was wrapped up inside with a left ankle that was, nay is, still a bit painful. Don’t feel too sorry for me though, because this particular Tuesday saw some horrendous weather batter the South West, destroying railway lines, undermining buildings, knocking out power lines and destroying homes. You can read more about the destruction and see footage of the missing railway track on the BBC news website (the real one this time).
In one of the stranger stories, a WW2 grenade was discovered when an ice cream hut in Exmouth was relocated by the surging sea, causing a section of the seafront to be cordoned off and the bomb disposal unit to be called. My favourite quote from the article (on the local paper’s website) was this:
“Eight workers were on the seafront near the boating lake helping to dismantle an ice cream hut that was in danger of being washed out to sea and becoming a danger to shipping.”
How many times do ice cream huts find themselves a danger to shipping? Imagine having to make that insurance claim. “So I was sailing along, minding my own business, when all of a sudden, out of nowhere, came this ice cream hut… [long pause]…Yes, an ice cream hut. Hello?”
Considering the awful weather visited upon Devon on Tuesday night, I don’t feel too upset that the pain from my sprain kept me mainly out of the rain, to misquote Professor Higgins. Talking of pain, we all know that “pain” is French for bread, and bread is something that has been very much on my mind of late (how was that for a tortured segue?).
My brother is keen baker and he has recently started his own baking blog at kneadtoknow.org (you can also find him via his facebook page or twitter account). His blog is all about his passion for baking and I was lucky enough to be on the receiving end of some of that doughy passion last weekend. (Reading that last sentence back, it does sound a little odd, but you know what I mean.)
Mrs RB, my dodgy ankle and I all made the trip up to North Wales where we spent a great weekend with my brother and his family. Already a keen amateur baker, and the proud owner of a self-cultivated sourdough starter, Mrs RB rolled up her sleeves and was soon taking instruction in the Knead to Know kitchen. Over the couple of days we were with them, my brother turned out a dozen or so bagels, some breakfast muffins and several loaves of bread. We were duly packed off home with filled bagels and a whole loaf, which I have been happily making my way through for breakfast this week.
And he has also inspired Mrs RB, who was up early making breakfast muffins from the Knead to Know recipe. They were very tasty, especially this happy chap:
So please have a look at the Knead to Know blog and support someone who is passionate about good food and real bread. If you’re lucky enough to live near Llangollen in North Wales, then you may even be able to get your hands on some of his baking. If you don’t you can still read all about it, try some of the recipes and understand more about the benefits of real bread. Whether that means searching out a great local baker or dusting your worktops with flour and baking your own loaves, you will never be able to look at a limp, mass-produced loaf of bread in the same way ever again.