I’m having a great time back home. It’s good to travel and widen one’s horizons but there’s little that pleases me more than spending time doing the little everyday things that we so often take for granted, and as I recently discovered, those little things can quite often lead to much bigger things before one’s had the chance to decide on one lump or two in their morning tea.
A few weeks ago Millie invited me round for elevenses, a little invite that I had little trouble accepting. When I arrived Lottie was hovering in the eves of the hallway on the small Persian rug she’d purchased from Montu the carpet salesmouse back in Egypt, wafting a feather duster aloft whilst politely asking one of the resident spiders if he’d finished with that cobweb, and if so, could she possibly fluff it down. Gertrude, who’d just bent down to pick up a remnant of Christmas tinsel dislodged by Lottie from a picture frame, was looking like someone who’d just had a splendid idea and Millie was in the kitchen piping fresh cream onto the bottom layer of a rather splendid Victoria Sponge she’d whisked up in her new MagicMix food processor just an hour earlier.
Gertrude followed me into the kitchen to find out if I still had the address for Montu and then asked Millie if she could order a few magic carpets for down at the depot. Her thinking was that George’s old knees could definitely do with one to save him going up and down those ladders whilst fixing stuff around the depot and that they’d certainly save a few aching backs caused by loading heavy mail sacks onto the delivery vans. Millie thinking it indeed a splendid idea said “Whatever would I do without you Gertrude!” and then Gertrude blushed a little and gave that smile one gives when they are truly appreciated by their employer.
Over tea and cake Lottie and myself regaled tales of our travels and in return Gertrude and Millie filled us in on all that we’d missed whilst we’d been away. There were lots of tales about Millie’s Team Building events, Clive took the Panic Room Challenge more literally than most and actually got into such a panic that he hyperventilated, passed out and had to be whisked away on a stretcher and taken to hospital, and then a month later at the Roller Disco a wheel came off one of his skates and he was back on the same ward with three other mice after spinning out of control during an otherwise perfect reenactment of Torvill and Dean’s 1984 Olympic Gold Medal winning performance to Ravel’s Boléro. Luckily no one was seriously injured but the refreshment trolley, which Clive had grabbed and hoped would break his spin, ended up down the repair shop the next day and Eric had to make an emergency trip to the off license to replenish the bar before a plethora of parched mice started collapsing.
As Lottie poured us all a second cup, conversation turned to the Spring Flower Show, an event where this time Millie overtook Clive in becoming the centre of attention. Millie assured us that we wouldn’t want to hear but Gertrude, being Gertrude, just couldn’t keep her mouth shut. With impish excitement she told us how Millie won first prize for the best daffodil (which came as a great surprise as we all know Millie is exceptionally crap at all things gardening) and then not half hour later had her rosette unceremoniously stripped and got disqualified from the competition. As Lottie and me turned open mouthed toward Millie, Millie turned to Gertrude and said “I saw nothing in the rules about having to grow your own flowers” to which Gertrude replied “Nor anything about procuring a prise bloom from your best mate Flo for the price of two books of first class stamps!” The girls giggled, they are, it is true, honest and fair employers, but when it comes to competition it would seem Millie’s motto is ‘By Any Means Necessary’.
Tucking into her third slice Lottie then unwittingly sparked up the next big idea (… “It’s a shame there wasn’t a cake competition Millie, you could have saved yourself the cost of some stamps!” …) the Little Clearing Summer Fair.
Fortunately Clive had no accidents on the day and Millie won first prize against an exacting list of sponge cake competition criteria created by Gertrude just to wind her ‘best boss’ up a bit. I was put in charge of flier printing and distribution and with the help of the Cub Scout Mouselings we pretty much covered all of Mouse Town and the surrounding villages to ensure a good turnout. The only downside to the event was that our arrangements happened to coincided with a four day U.K. heatwave, the like of which we’ve never experienced before. Despite increasing the popularity of the paddling pool area, it did cause a few collapses on the Sponge Cake Competition table, something which Millie was quietly pleased about because hers wasn’t one of them. Whilst other competitors poo-pooed the forecasts, Millie planned ahead and drove a bloody great wooden stake through the centre of her sponge layers the night before the competition and performed a last minute disguise with some glacé fruits on competition morning.
By any means necessary, one can’t always disagree with Millie’s mantra!
Hope you survived the heat!
If you've any super sponge cake ideas or tips on how to survive a heatwave Morris would love to hear from you, just drop him a line here or under his Instagram, Facebook or Twitter shares. Ⓒ All images and story content copyright of lynncf