Virginia Barton

16 July 2014: A Bit of a Facer


16 July 2014


“The Policy nowadays is to offer people of your age a test for dementia.” The Doctor said it very kindly, as if offering a recipe for a Victoria Sponge.

(You’ll need a 9 inch cake tin, high-sided if possible, which you should grease and line.)

“Everybody over seventy has this opportunity; it’s a good idea for peace of mind.”

(Carefully weigh 4 ozs each of self-raising flour, a level teaspoon of baking powder, castor sugar and butter. Beat up two eggs in a separate bowl.)




“The simple test we do here will tell us if you should be referred on to the Clinic for a proper assessment.”

(In a large bowl briskly beat the sugar and butter to a creamy consistency, then add the sieved dry ingredients a little at a time.)

“Would you like to do it now? It only takes a few minutes.”

(Gradually add the beaten eggs to the mixture, a little at a time or it may curdle.)


“What do you say Virginia? Good idea? It could save your husband a lot of worry in the future.”

(O my golly, forgot to heat up the oven. It should be Mark 4 gas. Probably 150C fan.)

“You’re very quiet – for you! Have I upset you?”

(Carefully spread the cake-mix in your tin with a palette knife, slightly hollowing it in the centre. Place in the middle of the hot oven.)


“Look, never mind now. What did you come to see me about anyway? Another scrip for your asthma was it?”

(It should be ready in about 35 minutes. I usually test with an old knitting needle. Remove from the oven and leave to cool, in the tin for 10 minutes, before turning out onto a rack.)



“Now you listen to me, Doctor Bee. I defy anyone to sit here and write an entire Victoria Sponge recipe IN THEIR HEAD, and be even slightly demented.”

She gave me a curious, sideways look.

“Shall we do it now?”

We did, and I don’t think I was.


(Forgot to say, split the cake when it’s cold and fill as you choose. Whipped double cream, liberally laced with chopped strawberries is a favorite at this time of year. Sprinkle icing sugar on the top. Bon appetit!)

Now, where was I?






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