Dabbling

Ever heard the expression ‘jack of all trades, master of none’?

That’s me. I’m one of life’s dabblers. I’m always slightly envious of people who are really *really* good at something. Doesn’t matter what it is – DIY, playing an instrument, writing, sport, whatever.

The other night we were watching The Great British Bake-off with the kids, and they suggested that I should go on it as I’m good at making cakes. Now, I can turn out a perfectly good, tasty cake[1], don’t get me wrong. But, like most people, I’d need a good recipe and lots of time and WILL YOU GET OUT OF MY KITCHEN WHILE I’M BAKING. That said, getting hugged by Mel & Sue when I went out in the first week might just make it worthwhile.

*ahem* I digress.

Ditto with DIY. I can put up a shelf and it’ll be more-or-less level so long as you don’t look too closely, but there’s a reasonably high probability of blood being involved somewhere along the line, and one too many holes in the wall than are strictly necessary.

I also keep looking at the guitar I bought last December, sitting largely unused in its case in the spare room. I’ve had it out maybe half a dozen times for a strum since I got it, but never really got past that point.

I’m reasonably good at a few things, but always just enough to know exactly how much I don’t know.

Take juggling. I can juggle three balls reasonably well, and four at a push. Some people are impressed[2], but deep down I know that anyone[3] with a couple of hours to spare and enough motivation to put the effort in could do much the same.

Same with photography. I’ve taken some nice photos (along with a significantly higher number of terrible ones), but follow enough ‘proper’ photographers to know that mine are mostly merely competent, with the odd exception.

I’d love to be an expert in something. And that involves time and effort and I completely get that. Given that I’m now over 40, and my life is full of other important stuff, I should really be a bit more picky about what I want to do. My free ‘me’ time is pretty precious, and needs to be used wisely…

[1] mmm, cake.
[2] ok, mainly small children.
[3] yes, even you.

Black banana cake never lasts long in our house

This is a firm favourite in our house. We always seem to end up with some bananas which go a bit overripe, and this recipe is perfect.

However, I must say that our Nigel uses rather a lot of chocolate – I made two of these at the weekend by doubling up amounts and splitting into two loaf tins, but only used 100g of dark chocolate. I don’t normally put the hazelnuts in either, but each to their own.

Also, bake it for 50 minutes, whack some foil on the top and stick it back in for another 20-25 minutes. It *always* takes longer than you think it will.

Perfect served warm with nice vanilla ice-cream.