Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Celebrating summer bablies

My mum's birthday was at Christmas time. It was great for us because we had non-stop celebrations, but she always said that she would have liked to have been born in June.  You can understand why. A baby born in June has the whole summer to look forward to. You can go out for a walk in the pram right from the start. One of my children was born in the depths of one of the coldest winters on record. we huddled together and went out with the pram for the first time when he was two months old, because there was so much snow that the pavements were all blocked. My daughter born in June was out and about in little sun dresses from day one. We happily sat and cuddled listening to the dawn chorus together. It was a delight to wake up to the sound of her little gurgles at the first rays of light piercing the shutters. All day long we could snuggle and nuzzle her warm skin and caress her bare little limbs. Psychologists now are saying that taking delight in a baby's little arms and legs builds self esteem, so mother's instincts to stroke and hold their babies has a more profound effect than mere pleasure.
Having a birthday at the beginning of the summer is a good moment to give summer clothes, swimwear or anything useful for a holiday. The best summer birthday cake for me is the one I have always made for my daughter. Sponge cake filled with strawberries and fresh whipped cream. Today I made the sponge using my friend Rosemary's recipe.

Rosemary's sponge cake, perfect summer birthday cake

Weigh from two to four eggs. Today I weighed three eggs and they came to 200 g.
So I creamed together 200 g of butter and caster sugar, added the beaten eggs and then folded in 200 g of self raising flour and a teaspoon of vanilla. Bake for about 30 minutes at 180. When cold slice the cake in half and fill the centre with freshly whipped cream and icing sugar to taste. Spread washed and sliced strawberries on top and cover with the other half of the cake. Decorate as you please, dust with icing sugar and pipe rosettes of cream and top with whole strawberries.
Here is a poem dedicated to all the summer babies, big and small.
Summer is prodigal of joy. The grass
Swarms with delighted insects as I pass,
And crowds of grasshoppers at every stride
Jump out all ways with happiness their guide;
And from my brushing feet moths flirt away
In safer places to pursue their play,
In crowds they start. I marvel, well I may,
To see such worlds of insects in the way,
And more to see each thing, however small,
Sharing joy's bounty that belongs to all.
And here I gather, by the world forgot,
Harvests of comfort from their happy mood,
feeling God's blessing dwells in every spot
And nothing lives but owes him gratitude.
John Clare

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