Bothy Diaries part 2: Furlough
Furlough (who ever used that word before 2020?!) was weird. Being paid to sit at home and do nothing didn’t really sit well with me. Besides with a 5-mile travel limit in place I couldn’t even get out into the hills. Filling the days became a challenge. I knew Kj wouldn’t be sitting on her backside doing nothing, but I didn’t realise that whilst I was baking the odd batch of fairy cakes for the neighbours she was in the process of setting up a pop up bakery and flogging top notch cakes and bread from her doorstep. With lockdown still in place she was keen to deliver treats around Grantown on Spey by bike, especially to people who couldn’t get out because they were shielding. Before long I found myself trundling around the town with a trailer full of cream teas, cakes and still-warm bread. It was brilliant! Living on my own meant lockdown could potentially have been very lonely but just getting out on these delivery runs and chatting to people made a big difference.
There was such a sense of gratefulness from everyone...
Grateful in these strange times for the familiarity of a soft scone smothered with cream and fruity jam or the crunch of a crusty loaf of fresh bread. Not to mention the chance to chat on the doorstep and shake our heads together at this mad situation we were all living through.
Kj was working crazy long days, fighting to keep her business alive and pay suppliers bills. It was tough but it was working! Each week my trailer got fuller and the delivery rounds got longer.
Never one to settle for an easy life, Kj decided to move beyond Grantown and trialled a postal delivery of Millionaire’s Shortbread. It arrived intact - every perfect layer of chocolatey, caramelly, biscuity yumminess. That was the beginning of the real craziness. No longer limited by my ability to pedal, Kj was able to send the iconic MC goodies the length and breadth of the UK, and did. From Shetland to Surrey, Carlisle to Cornwall, the demand was insatiable. At least, that’s how it felt to us as we boiled endless vats of condensed milk and stirred huge pots of chocolate on a tiny domestic hob. Yep, I was off furlough and back in the kitchen. Being paid to sit at home and do nothing suddenly seemed quite appealing after all!
As we sat in Kj’s lounge with a roll of brown paper and a temperamental Sellotape gun, filling postage sacks to overflowing with packages of rocky road, brownie, millionaires and whisky haggis it quickly became apparent – Kj had unleashed another beast and it wasn’t showing any signs of slowing down.