WE’RE defrosting the freezer, Scott of the Antarctic’s fruitcake has been found, and the fruitcake in the White House has been waving his, ahem, weapon – how’s that for a frosted jumble of topics?
The freezer contained few surprises as we’d been running it down in readiness for the big chill reversal. There were a couple of slices of my banana loaf, but not a whole fruitcake.
Scott’s fruitcake wasn’t in our freezer, although I wouldn’t be surprised to discover that he’d left something in one of my mother’s two freezers – a fearless explorer should be sent in to have a poke around among those frozen treasures.
I love it that Scott’s elderly fruitcake has been found beneath the ice of Antarctica. Conservators working for the Antarctic Heritage Trust discovered the 106-year-old British fruitcake on Cape Adare, and reckon that it belonged to the British explorer Robert Falcon Scott, according to the BBC website.
What a marvel of a story. Fruitcake, the best cake there is, can survive for a century in one of the earth’s most hostile environments. The cake was in a rusted tin, but otherwise appeared to be in “excellent condition” and smelled edible. The New Zealand-based trust found the cake in a hut built by Norwegian explorer Carsten Borchgrevink’s team in 1899, and used by Scott in 1911. Scott was said to be fond of the cake, made by Huntley & Palmers.
It’s good to know that I share something with Scott of the Antarctic. Fearlessness in the frozen wastes is not really my thing, but I do love a piece of fruitcake, the stickier the better, and they do say it improves with age. One mystery is why the cake was not eaten. Apparently, Scott and his doomed crew ate well in that hut, with an older BBC report saying: “The smell of fresh bread and rhubarb pie was a common feature of life there…” Fresh bread and rhubarb pie! Perhaps I could be an explorer yet.
Another dietary fixture was seal meal, curried, fried or in soup, a popular cut with the men. Stewed penguin not so much, as it tasted like very bad sardines.
But here’s the thing. Why would you stew a penguin when you had a tin of fruitcake to eat?
The thought that fruitcake can survive for a century is a comfort, a constant of steeped and baked delights in an unstable world – especially at a time when we must contend with another elderly fruitcake.
Part of me thinks that we should ignore Donald Trump in the hope that he might go away. We all seem so obsessed with whatever stupid or dangerous thing he has just said or done, that we hardly notice anything else. And that’s how bullies operate, demanding attention and roughing everyone up.
In the latest rough and tumble with North Korea – the Don and Kim Show, the craziest, scariest sit-com around – Trump tweeted that the US military was “locked and loaded”. He was operating, as is often the case, not from the White House but his golf club. And then it dawns on you. The US is being run by a mouthy golf club bore who swaggers about the place and burns everyone ear’s off with his loud opinions. A golf bore who thinks he’s Clint Eastwood.
Speaking in person rather than on Twitter, Trump later said North Korea should expect “big, big trouble” – a form of words that raises another possibility. This is that Trump is really a character in one of those Mr Men books. Mr Tweet, perhaps. Or Mr Something Unprintable.
He also said the following: “Hopefully, it will all work out. Nobody loves a peaceful solution better than President Trump, that I can tell you.”
And nobody hates a warmongering twerp with a Twitter addiction more than me, that I can tell you.