Stress is something that affects us all in different ways, and we all have a variety of coping mechanisms (or not-coping mechanisms would probably be a more accurate description). For married men, or those in a long-term relationship, sooner or later you learn the tell tale signs of a partner under pressure.
Some men have to cope with wives who suffer from alcoholism or drug addiction. Others are trying to support their spouses through postnatal depression, or dealing with financially crippling retail addiction. A few even have to cope with violent or aggressive behaviour.
For me, it’s baking. Given everything we’ve been going through lately I shouldn’t have been too surprised to smell flour, sugar and butter being mixed together in various alchemical ratios.
Maggie has been away for a few days, helping my stepdaughter settle back into her flat and talk to various official people, and yesterday we drove up to Central Scotland to bring her back home to a family with an emotional Maggie shaped hole in it. There is much to happen over the next few months as my stepdaughter rebuilds her and her children’s lives, but for the moment there is a brief lull.
As I wandered into the kitchen I found Maggie using the scone cutters to make scones out of the mix on the worktop, which were ready for eating when I got home from collecting Meg from school.
No one makes warm, squidgy combinations of sugar, salt and fat like Maggie and they are absolutely impossible to resist. But given that we are trying to restore our healthy eating regime after the gluttonous season, it does deal something of a body-blow.
However, I don’t have to deal with physical or financial violence, depression, drug or alcohol addiction from her, so if eating a bit of cake and a few warm, buttery scones is all I need to put up with, then I’m not going to complain.