Why do rainy days provoke nostalgia? Rainy days take me back to Sunday evenings in winter when I was little. Being at home in London, when it rained all day and you couldn’t go out. The morning and afternoon were bearable – a film, a book, some Lego, but by evening the Monday anxiety had begun to creep in. At 6-6:30 pm specifically. How do I know? Because that’s when Songs of Praise was on. Songs of Praise was a religious programme that travelled round the country, visiting a particular church each week and where the congregation would sing their favourite hymns. The congregations always sounded suspiciously tuneful…Now it’s common knowledge that it was because the pews were peppered with ringers – people from the church choir, people who could actually sing…
However there were things to look forward to on a rainy Sunday evening. There was usually a BBC adaptation of a children’s book on television. One of my favourites was A Box of Delights by John Masefield; a dark Christmas story of magic, snow, kidnapping and talking animals…wonderful.
The other delight on a Sunday evening was a hot buttered crumpet. A crumpet is a bready teatime treat. A spongey, circular honeycomb which I’m positive was invented for the sole purpose of absorbing wicked amounts of melted butter and inducing a warm, comforting carbs coma.
Have them with jam, with marmalade, even Marmite…and at least one with just butter. I say at least one because one is never enough.
In fact crumpets were the kind of treat that the children in these BBC stories would have after having tramped through the woods, in a blizzard, to get home. There would be some tutting by the Governess at their snowy shoes and at the soggy state of their clothes, (‘absent parents’ was always a theme) but ultimately there was a roaring fire, soft flickering candle light, (because invariably the power lines were down because of the unusually heavy snowfall) vats of cocoa and mountains of hot, buttered, bread based products……oh and flannel pyjamas; cold draughty places these old english country houses.
The last time we were in a rain cycle (I’ve decided this is how the monsoon functions in India – a couple of weeks of crazy, horizontal rain, petering out to a drizzle and then calm; REPEAT UNTIL SEPTEMBER) I found myself at the window watching the trees and birds being swirled around by the wind. The sky was growing darker and the thought of having a bath ‘because tomorrow is a Monday’ popped into my head.
When we were little, Sunday was bath night.
The enticement of crumpets usually sped up the bath process. The sooner it was over the better. I’m not hydrophobic, I just don’t like sitting in a bath. I feel like I’m sitting in my own soup. Also, the bathroom was freezing and the water was hot. The quasi steam room which resulted and the scalding water did not make it a pleasant experience. Of course I would top up the bath with cold water but because your body is hotter than your extremities, by the time the water temperature was bearable for my feet, it was too cold for my bottom.
I must admit, the memory made me feel a little homesick….obviously the warm fuzzy feelings did not extend to the bath bit.
A quick Google search found a crumpet recipe and in a couple of hours a dozen golden crumpets sat on a cooling rack in the kitchen. A cup of tea, generous servings of butter on a couple of crumpets later and that homesickness was nothing more than a carbs haze and a feeling of satisfaction in my belly…
If you are interested, this is the recipe I used. http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/crumpets_61013
and these are the golden buttery beauties…..ahhhhhh bliss.