It’s been one of those days. And it started yesterday.
Last night was the opening night of Archie’s play. Drew, Arabella and I went along to support him. The night was thoroughly entertaining and Archie gave a performance that was lively and energetic.
But I have been worried about Archie because as well as rehearsing four nights a week he has been going to Uni five days a week and he has had a lot of assessments that all involve singing so he’s been using his voice a lot. And in the play he is on stage for almost the entire three-hour show and he has to project his voice and yell and scream and leap about like John Cleese in Fawlty Towers.
I have been telling Archie that he needs to look after himself and make sure he’s getting enough sleep and eating properly and I’ve even suggested he curtail some of his social engagements. Like was it really necessary to go to a party dressed in drag the night after coming home from a disastrous tech rehearsal that had him home no earlier than 4.20am?
But Archie didn’t listen to me because he is 19 and as such only has selective hearing.
I did try to help by packaging up home cooked meals like spaghetti bolognese, chilli con carne, chicken pesto pasta, lasagne etc. But there have also been days when Archie has walked through the door announcing he is off to an extra rehearsal and I have been left completely unprepared. So I’ve handed Archie $20.00 and told him to buy himself a decent meal.
But Archie is enterprising and worked out that McDonald’s (close to the theatre) sells cheeseburgers for a dollar. Archie could buy four cheeseburgers for $4.00 plus a can of red bull and pocket the balance.
And I said to Archie, ‘Eating like that will catch up with you.’ But selective hearing is deaf to wisdom.
It wasn’t a total surprise when Archie woke this morning with no voice. With three consecutive performances starting from tonight, we were in a crisis situation.
Archie had heard that drinking liquid myrrh would cure a strained voice. Excellent! But I didn’t know where to buy it. Apparently it is a herb so I googled herbal shops in my area. I phoned the first number that appeared. A man with a heavy Chinese accent answered the phone. I asked if he sold liquid myrrh. He said, ‘Yes, your name?’ So I told him and then again asked, ‘Do you sell myrrh?
‘Yes, yes. What you want it for?’ I explained Archie’s situation.
‘He needs to see the doctor.’
‘I’m sorry, we don’t have time for that, can I just come and pick up the myrrh?’
‘If he not see the doctor I don’t know what formula to give him.’
‘Well doesn’t it just come either as a tablet or as a liquid? We just want the liquid.’
‘I have liquid.’
‘Great. Can I come up and get it?’
‘I don’t know the formula.’
This went on and on and we went round and round with me ending up agreeing to bring Archie in immediately in exchange for a bottle of liquid myrrh.
When we arrived he told us to wait 15 minutes because he was busy. We saw he was talking to a man at the counter but the man wasn’t a customer, he was there selling the Chinese man a mobile phone plan. The salesman was offering the first two months of the plan for free but the Chinese man wanted three months for free. And Archie and I sat there with the day ticking by.
Then the Chinese doctor came out and said she needed to talk to Archie. She did a brief consult and agreed he needed something to bring back his voice. I said, ‘Great, can we take the bottle of myrrh?’
She said, ‘I don’t sell myrrh. I have something much, much better. His system out of balance, he need full consult to fix it. He need this,’ and she handed me a box of lozengers he can suck, ‘and he need this’ and she gave me a couple of boxes of pills, ‘and he need this’, and it was something for him to drink. And because Archie is out of balance I have made an appointment for him to see her next Tuesday, probably because she said to me, ‘You have very nice boy and you! Too young to have such nice boy.’
Because we were in a crisis situation I felt we should have a two-pronged approach and alongside the Chinese remedies we should also have a Western approach. I drove Archie to the Compounding Pharmacy and Archie had another consult. She sold him some Vitamin C powder, a throat spray, some lozengers and some herbal tablets. The throat spray even has a little bit of myrrh!
So Archie is on his way to another performance, heavily stocked up with Chinese and Western remedies. For the sake of all in the audience I can only hope they work like a miracle.
When Archie gave me proper notice about an upcoming rehearsal I would try to make something the whole cast could enjoy. I made this sour cream chocolate cake and it was well appreciated by the cast who, because they are starving, are probably not the best to judge but they did say this was the best chocolate cake they have ever eaten. The sour cream adds a special richness to the cake and makes it very moist.
- 1½ cups plain flour
- ¾ cup cocoa powder
- 1½ tspns baking powder
- ¾ tspn baking soda
- ½ tspn salt
- 250g (1 cup) sour cream
- ⅓ cup water
- 2 tspns vanilla essence
- 250g (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
- 1⅓ cups firmly packed light brown sugar
- 3 large eggs
- ¾ cup butter, softened
- 1 cup (250g) cream cheese, whipped
- 115g (4oz) dark chocolate, melted and cooled (melt over hot water)
- 1 tspn vanilla
- 2½ cups icing sugar
- Pre-heat oven to 180C/375F.
- Grease and flour two 9-inch (22cm) round cake pans, knocking out excess flour.
- Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
- In a small bowl whisk together sour cream, water and vanilla.
- In a large bowl, with an electric mixer, beat together butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
- Beat in eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.
- Add some flour mixture to butter mixture. Mix well. Add some sour cream mixture. Mix well. Continue this process, ending with the flour mixture. Beat until the batter is smooth. Divide batter between prepared pans and smooth the tops.
- Bake layers in middle of oven 25 -30 minutes until cooked.
- Cool cakes in their pans on racks for 10 minutes. Turn out onto racks to cool completely.
- To Make Frosting:
- Using an electric mixer, beat together butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add remaining ingredients and beat until combined. Place one cake on a large plate and spread with about ¾ cup frosting. Put the second cake on top, then spread remaining frosting over the top and sides.
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