Cake to Celebrate

In one of my recent posts (Looking Forward) I mentioned marking my 10th anniversary at my job and I said, “…though I wonder where that decade has gone, I think I need to mark it in some way. Cake would be especially appropriate because most of the lunch times one of those years was spent talking about cake, and sometimes even eating it.”

It wasn’t such a bad idea, so at our January staff meeting at the same table where my work with ACET started, we enjoyed an orange loaf studded with melty bits of white chocolate.

My first day of work was our monthly meeting at a staff member’s home in south Dublin. When I knocked, there was no answer. Unsure if I was even in the right place, I pushed the door open a little more – it was ajar – and I could definitely hear voices inside, but not meeting voices, more like people enjoying a meal, crockery and cutlery sounds under the chit chat and laughter. It was a few minutes before I actually ventured in and found them all in the kitchen around Terrie’s big table, tucking in to a breakfast served up straight from her Aga. First lesson learned: it’s all about being around the table together.

As well as talking about cake for that year (and more, if I’m really honest!), I’ve learned a few things during that time:

  • I now know more than I ever thought I’d need to about governance and the vagaries of bureaucratic form-filling.
  • I’m still learning BEGINNING-MIDDLE-END-REST and what it really means to “Take more time, cover less ground” – and when that is important and when its impossible (I talked a bit about that in Tóg go Bog é, or Getting my Sparkle Back).
  • My ACET people show me that everything is easier when you have someone at your side, or in front of you: in fact, as we go through trauma training we are learning that we are the tools of the work, and that our presence after someone’s trauma can be a key part of their restoration.
  • Laughter is always good and
  • there must be thousands of crazy stories behind even the most boring doors on O’Connell Street.

After our morning in our favourite Christmas café for our annual breakfast, when we’d sat for hours talking and eating and having coffees like we hadn’t seen each other in months, the staff asked, “Was it a family gathering?”

“Well, no,” I answered, “but really, yes.”

And the cake! The Orange and White Chocolate Loaf was from Ruby Tandoh’s book Crumb. I got to use up some of those oranges that needed eating, and it was a good excuse to use my brand new mixer which delights me with its shine.

I might just plan another anniversary for next month.


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