Gingernuts.

Gingernuts.

12-04-2020Peter Clover

All we’ve been hearing for the past few months are reports, statistics, complaints and survival tactics surrounding Covid19 – the great thief of time! In an unprecedented scenario, all our lives have been momentarily put on hold, as globally, we have been forced to stay indoors and wait for the outcome!

Like a breath of much needed fresh air, the prospect of Majorca, along with the rest of the world, slowly coming through this catastrophic pandemic, is like all your birthdays coming at once. Well, that might be a scary thought for some, and quite a stampede of years especially for those clutching a bus pass! But it’s not only the nicely maturing generation that are viewing lockdown as an overwhelming, confusing and waste of valuable time they don’t really have! All age groups across the board have had their lives compromised during this surreal experience, which even in our wildest dreams we could never have imagined happening.

If we were watching the plot of this global disaster as a movie on Netflix, it would naturally all be concluded in a matter of hours, and all the mistakes that are being made throughout would be glaringly obvious. We would all be pointing at the screen saying; “Why are those irritating idiots flouting the rules for survival, when it could all be over so much quicker if they simply do as they’re told?” The heroes of the movie - those who complied, would shine, and those who blundered and wandered thoughtlessly through the storyline would be berated and held as part of the problem.

Sadly, real life is not a movie, and literally EVERYONE is currently desperate for the entire world to get back to normal. Sensibly, the quickest way to achieve that is for everyone to stay focused and not become complacent or too over-confident until the final credits roll and we are safe to walk away from the movie house!

With temperatures rising and summer looming, we are naturally all pining for our wonderful Majorcan lifestyle to return as quickly as possible. But the new normal will be quite different for a while, if not forever, so we all just have to be patient and accept the changes, gradually, gracefully and gratefully. Then we can all claim our Oscars as ‘best supporting citizens’ for playing our part in this epic movie of the century.

In years to come, we shall all look back at 2020 and be talking about what we did during ‘lockdown’. For most Majorcans it will be remembered as a silent year without fiestas, although there are proposals in place to attempt some form of island celebrations. Personally, compared to the consequences which could ensue, I think a sensible fiesta famine for a few months is a small price to pay in order to get Majorca back to a ‘safe’ normal for everyone.

For me, I think the lockdown will be remembered in part for all the new skills I have attained whilst in confinement, and the creativity of all those sharing the same drama, island-wide. For example – I can now make a face mask out of a sock, and a full head covering out of a pair of underpants. I can put together a full Hazmat suit out of bin liners and an empty 5 ltr water bottle. I also learnt that ‘hazmat’ is a noun, although more often used as an adjective, inferring hazardous (a bit like this article).

I learnt how to bake bread, and have gone through kilos of flour in the process. I have learnt that our cat is like furry Prozac, and valued our own good health more than ever before. The house has never been cleaner, and the garden has never looked lovelier or been used more. Thankfully, there was no blockdown in lockdown, but I learnt how to remove the lids of all our toilet cisterns and de-scale the calcification from the working parts using white vinegar, thus ensuring a fearless flush! (all courtesy of YouTube). Apparently, if you do ever suffer from a real blockdown, you can squirt half a bottle of washing up liquid down the toilet pan or shower trap and leave for a few hours or overnight. There is an agent in washing up liquid that dissolves grease and grime (amongst other things), and apparently works a treat. Again, check it out on YouTube before you commit to a bit of your own Percy Plumbing!

During lockdown, I also became less wasteful with food produce, and finally cracked the town’s recycling system, putting the right bags, in the right colours, out in the right place, on the right evenings. And learnt that if you trust a system, then the system will eventually trust you!

I almost learnt how to stack the dishwasher properly, but according to Other Half, ‘not quite’. I definitely learnt that mince pies taste just as good in lockdown as they do at Christmas. And that coffee grouts sprinkled in the saucers beneath your pot plants not only stop mosquitos from breeding in the excess water, but makes the garden smell like Starbucks.

I have also been cooking and baking a lot more whilst re-discovering a wealth of old recipes; and lost weight racing up and down the stairs checking the oven’s progress. My ultimate star in lockdown has got to be the most ‘to die for’ gingernuts, which I now make, following a recipe I’ve had for 25 years and never got round to baking before. “Why has it taken so long?” asked Other Half, who actually acquired the recipe in the first place. Well, like I’ve always said, the best things in life are worth being patient and waiting for, a bit like our recovery from Covid19.

I have also seen that Majorcans have a great resilience and an amazing spirit when faced with alien conditions they don’t readily wish to embrace. And some of the creative talent and entertaining genius displayed across social media has been outstanding. My attitude towards local humour has also changed drastically, with so many funny videos circulating from people who don’t usually break into a smile unless it’s a last resort.

During these months of global lockdown, it has also been truly heart warming to learn that pollution levels have dropped drastically.The ozone layer over the northern hemisphere has healed. Fish are multiplying in the oceans, bees are thriving, and the canals in Venice are actually as blue as the Mediterranean with a celebrated return of dolphins. Rivers are visibly purer, endangered flora and fauna is coming back to life. For the first time in 600 recorded years, a pair of storks have nested in the UK and hatched chicks on a rooftop. Animals have come down from the hills, and out of the woods into towns and cities, free from the terror instilled by man. People are coming together.

If Covid19 has been a warning, then hopefully we will have all learned something from it as we move towards a better world. And if all else fails . . . we will always have GINGERNUTS!

Recipe: Makes 16
4oz (110g) self raising flour
1 rounded teaspoon ground ginger
1 level teaspoon bicarbonate soda
1½ oz (40g) granulated sugar
2oz butter
2oz (2 tablespoons) golden syrup

Method:

Sift flour, ginger and bicarbonate soda into a large mixing bowl. Add sugar then lightly rub in butter until mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add golden syrup and mix everything together with wooden spoon or spatula to form a stiff paste. Divide mixture and roll into 16 even sized balls. Place on tray and refrigerate for ½ hour. Preheat oven to 190C. Re-roll balls slightly and place well apart (as they will spread) on 2 lined baking sheet. Bake in centre of oven for 12 – 15 mins until spread out and cracked slightly. Cool on baking sheet for 10 mins before removing to wire rack to cool completely. Don’t eat them all at once even though you will be sooooooo tempted.

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