The sun today has been smothered under a dull, damp, grey cushion leaving the world silent and lifeless. I have the feeling that nature is in mourning, and with every reason as it feels as though the kind has been ripped out of mankind. Amongst my many weaknesses is the inability to communicate serious or sad news to another person without having to stifle laughter. In terms of gravitas, I am weightless. This lack of apparent moral weightiness has happily spared me from any position of authority or responsibility throughout my life. There was a moment during my school days when I was proposed as secretary to the ping pong club but it didn’t take long before black smoke was pouring from the committee room’s chimney signifying a failed ballot. I can tell you that I was mightily relieved not to have the worry of gathering subscriptions from the 10 members and replacing dented balls, which I certainly would have had as a result of trying to gather the said subscriptions. Speaking of balls puts me in mind of pears, phonetically that is, and how good they are in a cake – pears that is – or with chocolate, or with red wine. The seasonal cry of “Hey, grow a pear, why don’t you!”can often be heard resounding through the house as Daddy refuses to build Barbie’s house or to fix the malfunctioning Wii that should have been called WWII. How wise of the partridge to hide in a pear tree. Without the feathers their shape is very similar to a pear, as is Granny’s. The upshot of all this is that I have just made the most delicious pear cake whose scent, colour, warmth, flavour and general fabulousness has started to drive the greyness away. There would be a recipe attached had my daughter not wisely borrowed the book from which it comes – Patricia Wells “Bistro Cooking”.