In the days leading up to my birthday Finley reminded me at regular intervals that delight was imminent. Each morning as I handed him a banana breakfast, he bestowed a conspiratorial gap toothed smile and whispered that it was three days, two days, tomorrow, until I would have a wonderful surprise. Discussions were held behind closed doors and knowing looks twinkled by both parties when I discovered them tete a tete.
When the day arrived I found I had been granted the luxury of waking in my own time. Just as I was about to roll over and drift back into the most delicious sleep of the day - those stolen moments between waking and rising - the bedroom door opened and a waft of baking opened my eyes like a dose of smelling salts.
Led downstairs by the hand, it became apparent that there had been much activity in the kitchen while I slept. Nick told me with a roll of the eyes that Fin first woke him at 5.30am, adamant that they needed to get started straight away. An hour later they were both navigating the mysteries of the kitchen, armed only with a printed page from my blog and a huge amount of hope.
Nick had never baked anything in his life, let alone something that was both grain and sugar free. But Finley, (who has helped me out from time to time) was delighted to instruct him as they ground nuts, whisked eggs and filled muffin cases with some lemon scented birthday muffins. (They used the cake part from this recipe and the syrup from this one ).
The kitchen looked like a bomb had hit, but their faces glowed with success in such a way that my heart leapt into my mouth.
With nothing to do but relax, I sipped a chamomile tea while the cakes spent their last few minutes in the oven.
Soon six lovingly crafted muffins came to the table on a pretty plate. They were just perfect - accompanied by a lemon syrup to drizzle on top. We broke them reverentially, dipping each piece into the sharp lemon syrup and licking our fingers clean.
Later, as I cleared away the baking detritus and caught myself tutting at the mess, I took a moment to look at my hand made cards and marvel over the fact that my two kitchen novices had entered into the magic of baking and emerged triumphant.
I tucked the feeling securely into my ticket pocket for those days when I'm turning out yet another meal, to remind me that I could sit down to muffins again any time I wanted - all I had to do was ask.
There was a sea change coming and I welcomed it with open arms.