In an ideal world, I would be looking forward to watching Milan-San Remo live tomorrow. I would have checked out the start lists and given some thought as to who might be in with a chance of victory. I would have contacted my friends and made arrangements where to meet after the race. I would be happily contemplating starting my day with coffee and La Gazzetta before a quick mooch around the shops and then heading to the finish to find a good position to watch the race unfold. Instead, I have been doing none of these things.

I have been making the chocolate genoise cake for tomorrow’s birthday celebrations. It’s the first time that I have attempted this type of cake and so far  so good. The cake looks light and airy and is now sitting in the fridge which will make it easier to slice into three tomorrow, or so I’m advised. I have made the meringue buttercream, another first, which is also sitting in the fridge. Tomorrow morning it’ll be flavoured chocolate and then I’ll begin the tricky task of assembling and decorating the cake. If all goes well,  two of my English class turn 12 next week and I’ll make them both birthday cakes.

My cake making preparations were disturbed by yet another of our riders who finds himself ill-prepared for the week end’s races. I’m flattered they think I can magic up licences late on a Friday evening.  All associations work slowly and most licences take 10 days to emerge from the chrysalis. I have however come up with a solution which may enable him to race, then again it may not.

I’m still not sure whether I’ll race this week end. I rode today and, despite the warm spring-like conditions, still feel compromised by the lingering effects of my cold. We’ll just have to see how I feel on Sunday morning. I only have the pissaladiere and savory cakes to prepare tomorrow evening for Sunday’s apero. Everything else is ready.

I had some sad news today. One of my few remaining relatives died. The rest really can be counted on the fingers of one hand. He’d not enjoyed particularly good health these past few years but, meeting a widow, a couple of year’s his senior, had put a bit of a spring in his step. He had a stroke in early January, while they were on holiday, from which he appeared to be making a full recovery. All was going well until he was moved to a rehabilitation ward from where it’s been pretty much all downhill. He passed away this afternoon, after rallying briefly yesterday. He wasn’t on his own when he died, my sister Lynn was with him.

While he’d lived a full life, he didn’t quite make his four score and ten. I also have to wonder about the part played by the UK’s NHS in his untimely demise. If he’d gone to stay with his friend, rather than being transferred to the rehabilitation unit, might he still be with us? Sadly, we’ll never know the answer to that one.