Those who have followed my blog for a long time might recall my son's home-baking business, which lasted for a couple of years while he was at school. It paid for various school trips, put money towards music festival tickets, and even a laptop. Sadly, for reasons only understood by teenagers, he lost interest in it.
However, he wasn't the only one of our offspring to have benefited from the skill and tutelage of my wife's considerable alchemical ability to mix flour, eggs, butter and additional items into mouthwateringly scrumptious edibles. Our daughter, Meg, has also shown a keen mastery of this near-occult practice.
Because Meg has Down's Syndrome, it's too easy for people to dismiss, to ignore, to write her off by focusing on cognitive areas where she is unable to match those in the non-DS population. Indeed, some are unable to get past seeing the DS and assume it is somehow her defining characteristic.
Of course if you talk to anyone who actually knows her, it becomes clear pretty quickly the DS is only one aspect of who Meg is and certainly not the defining one.
This weekend past felt like a new line had been crossed that could be thrown in the face of the naysayers when she raised money for charity by selling her gluten-free home-baked goodies at the annual Galloway Children's Festival in Kirkcudbright.
A young woman and her scrumptious home-baking
Meg has coeliac - a condition meaning she is gluten intolerant and has to avoid a whole range of products which contain normal flour and oats (the list is huge!) - so with the help of her Mum they have researched all sorts of recipes to find sweet-treats that don't feel like second best.
Gluten free chocolate cookies, peanut butter cookies, rocky-road (pictured), flapjack, lemon cupcakes, and vanilla cupcakes with icing were all created by Meg to sell from her stall.
Unfortunately I didn't get to sample any of Meg's Rocky-Road as it was one of the first items to completely sell out
Then on Sunday, we headed down to Kirkcudbright with our boxes of goodies, cake-stands, tablecloth and a gazebo and Meg and I set out our pitch.
Daughter and Father ready for the punters
Within 3 hours we had completely sold out.
We even had some people coming back to tell Meg just how much they had enjoyed her creations.
Meg had been clear from the start she wanted the profits not for herself, but to go to charity, and the one she chose was Machars RDA (Riding for the Disabled), as for the past few years she has been going there with the school every 2nd Wednesday during term time, learning to ride. For a long time it was mostly sitting on the horse as it was lead by helpers, but more recently she has started riding the horses unaided. She has gained a huge amount from the experience and she felt it was only right they should benefit from her efforts in return.
After we'd added up the total sales (£85) and taken out the cost of pitch at the fair and the ingredients for the baking, we calculated she had raised £48.32 for her chosen charity.
I can't begin to explain just how proud of her we are.