• The Tenuous Purpose

    This Blog is built - not, as some might expect, on a flimsy whim but on a strong and single minded principle.

    That principle concerns Biscuits and their position in the world.

    We are really very keen on biscuits.
    As are many of you out there.
    We think.

    We wish to create an archive of Arrowroot, a backlog of Bourbons and a catalogue of Chocolate Fingers. Anybody can contribute an entry - or dispute somebody else's - provided they are not dull.
    Even Americans who perhaps don't really have the heritage of biscuitry that we are fortunate to have here.

    Or maybe they do and we are unaware of the full glory of the cookie.

    We realise that this whole subject is admirably and concisely dealt with by that excellent and unbeatable website A Nice Cup of Tea and a Sit Down. Our feeble efforts will be as the kicking of a gadfly in the face of their wisdom and experience but we hope that we may have a small contribution to make.

  • Biscuit Encounters on Twitter

  • The Synod of Biscuitry

    James Alexander-Sinclair of Blackpitts
    Gardener, Blogger, Journalist, Lecturer etc, etc. Much of his life is spent loafing around other people’s gardens issuing directives and generally cluttering up the place. However, like the great Mr Kipling, he does (occasionally) make exceptionally good gardens. (Although even Mr Kipling messed up a bit with the Carrot and Walnut Mini Classics.)

    Mark Diacono of Otter Farm
    He does sterling work growing many inappropriate plants in Devon. He dedicates a great deal of time and effort nurturing a plethora of plants that are (mostly) totally unsuited to our climate. His is a life of such extreme eccentric dedication that to start a Blog about Biscuits seems perfectly normal. He treads gently in the footsteps of people like the great William Buckland,a professor of Geology who claimed that he could tell location by tasting the local topsoil.

Custard Cream of Doom

I’d awoken in one of those Disney styles, where you spring out of bed as the sunshine fills your room. Birds were singing at my window. Neighbours were waving at me to put some pants on.

Yes, it was a going to be a great day.

Breakfast consisted of a glass of orange juice (with bits) followed by a plate of bacon and eggs, a round of toast and large mug of coffee. Wonderful.

Postie arrived early and delivered a package of shiny new books. Marvellous.

I showered and got dressed and found £1 in my pocket. Amazing.

The rest of the day was to be spent with my Dad doing a spot of bird watching. As usual there were sandwiches and as we were going a little farther afield, there was also a flask of soup. What a treat. And the treats kept coming as we spotted a number of “firsts” for our birding list. There were Marsh Tits and a Little Egret spotted by Dad. Various ducks were bobbing around and there was even a Seagull.

All in all, it was a great day.

We made our way home and upon arriving back at Uku Mansions I got the first clue that my wonderful day was about to end. I went to unlock my door and used the wrong key. This momentary lapse in time caused me to be delayed in my entrance and Old Lady Downstairs appeared at her door. Her TV had started playing up again and would I have a look at it?

An hour later, I emerged victorious and, once again, made for my own front door; this time making sure to find the right key. I was exhausted having spent my day wandering around a nature reserve and just wanted to have a nice sit down with a cup of coffee and a biscuit – who wouldn’t?

I made some coffee with my stove-top mocha pot, and I heated some milk to whisk into froth. The resulting “mochacino” was just about the most perfect cup of coffee I had ever made. It’s freshly frothed hot milky top was just begging for a sprinkling of chocolate and so I obliged.

But, as if to remind me that my perfect day was at an end, I stubbed my toe on the door as I was carrying my drink into the living room, spilling some of the froth onto the carpet. I decided to leave it and make for the couch, desperate as I was for a nice sit down.

But, I’d forgotten my biscuit.

Up I got and back to the kitchen, stepping in the spilt milk on my way and now having to hop with my wet sock held aloft. But I was instantly cheered at the site of my beloved Custard Creams smiling at me from the biscuit barrel.

I whipped off the soggy sock and threw it in the washing machine, picked up a custard cream and made my way back to the couch and the perfect cup of coffee. Stepping in the wet patch of carpet again as I passed…dammit.

At this point I no longer cared and flopped onto the couch, sodden footed, but biscuit in hand.

In hindsight, burning my tongue and lips as I took the first sip of my coffee should have been an enormous clue as to what was about to transpire. However, at this stage, I’d just about had enough and the universe could go to hell. The only thing that could cheer me up was a nicely dunked Custard Cream. I pinched the corner of the biscuit quite near the edge – I wanted a full dunk, but didn’t want to risk burning my fingers in the hot coffee.

In went the custard sandwich and then two things happened in such quick succession that there was no time to prepare myself for it.

The corner of one side of the top biscuit snapped. The feeling of dread this imparts cannot be described, it’s something you need to experience and I pray you never do. The moment is heart stopping and as with any moment like this, I flinched. Some may say that was a cowardly thing to do but there isn’t a man (or woman) alive who would not flinch at the thought of losing his Custard Cream to a hot cup of coffee. But it was only the top biscuit of the sandwich that had snapped.

A small wave of relief swept through my mind. Had the perfect day been saved at the last by my own quick reflexes?

It had not.

For as I pulled my Custard Cream from the steaming perfection of my mochacino, I realised that I was only holding the corner. I had lost my biscuit to the dark depths of the mug. I rushed to the kitchen to try and spoon it out but it was too late, the biscuit had not simply fallen into the coffee, it had dissolved into it. My attempts at scooping were merely stirring the Custard Cream into the steaming drink, defiling both forever.

I had lost my biscuit.

I had ruined my coffee.

I had a soggy foot.

The horror.

The horror.

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12 Responses

  1. I’m ashamed to admit that I genuinely laughed out loud at that.

  2. What can I say? The drama of custard creams!! Well stick in a brand name there and you’ve got yourself an ad!! I want to see you playing the soggy-socked, down-trodden custard cream victim though!!! Mariax

  3. Riverting stuff.

  4. That is just unbearable sad. However, I have one small question:
    You say you went to the kitchen for A biscuit, one biscuit, uno, ein, un – why? When was one custard cream ever enough? Are you mad?
    OK that was three questions, but you get my point.

    • Shhhh. I’m trying to give the impression that I’m a svelte single biscuit eater. It’s not an easy thing to pull off in these elasticated, draw-string trousers.

  5. Serves you right for ruining a perfectly nice biscuit by dipping it in coffee *yeurgh*. And did you EVER clean the carpet…?

  6. What’s a custard cream? What’s a biscuit? Have you never heard of Biscotti? You drink coffee at night? Do you sleep? Why am I here? (Mom, is that you?)

  7. If you can stomach orange juice ‘with bits’ what is the problem with a bit of custard cream dissolved in your coffee?

    Consistency man! Consistency!

  8. Basic stuff Mr Uku *shakes head knowingly*
    Everybody knows that the corners of both Custard creams and Bourbons are their most vulnerable points.
    They are structurally unsound and should only be held at points including filling.
    The technology behind the actual cantilevering of the corners of biscuits is way beyond human capacity at the moment.
    Maybe our great-great-grandchildren will find a way but, until that great day…
    DON’T HOLD THE CORNER*

    *Mind you Nettiewriter has a very good point and the dunking of cream filled biscuits is a thoroughly unsavoury habit. I blame the French.

    • It was a schoolboy error.
      I really should have paid more attention in physics, I know that now.
      As for my dunking habit, I still say it’s better than smothering your biscuit in butter.

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