Have you noticed how the smallest of things can trigger a memory of a happening many years ago and bring it all back as though it were yesterday?
I had absolutely no cake for tea unless I broke into my Christmas Mince Pies which are frozen and in the freezer for chance-callers over the Christmas period. So I decided to make some fairy cakes (or queen cakes as we always called them when I was a child) - they only take a few minutes to make and are not absolutely loaded with calories, which the farmer and I are both avoiding in the run-up to Christmas.
And as I was beating the mixture the memory came flooding back. My Uncle Albert was a confirmed bachelor and lived alone in a lovely cottage in a village in Lincolnshire. He had lived with his mother until she died and had carried on where she had left off - keeping the house cleaned and polished, the silver gleaming and everything neat and tidy. His hobby was embroidery and he embroidered each of his nephews and nieces a tablecloth for a Christmas present (I still have mine more than sixty years later and it is beautiful). His day job was being a plate-layer on the railway - what could be more different?
It was while doing this job that he met his wife, my Auntie Jessie. She was a spinster, also living alone, and her garden backed on to the railway line. Whenever Albert was working in the vicinity of her garden they would chat, she would bring him tasty little cakes (and it is rumoured port wine) to the fence. They married and Albert, who had visited our house regularly, began to enthuse about Jessie's cooking.
My mother, I think, was rather jealous of Jessie's ability in the kitchen - and particularly of her Queen cakes. If Albert was working near our house he would pop in for lunch and if I was at home (I was a very young child) he would give me Jessie's Queen cake from his lunch box. And so it was that I began to enthuse about Jessie's Queen cakes too.
Mother asked her for the recipe, but it was jealously guarded. Mother insisted that she used her butter ration to make them (it was war time) while Jessie insisted that she only used margarine. The feud continued for as long as I can remember. Mother would try to make them but she never succeeded it getting them as good. Jessie triumphed.
And obviously she is doing so still - she must have been dead for at least forty years and yet I still remember her superiority in the Queen cake department!