Butter, sugar, eggs, flour. Mix them up and what do you get? A perfect Victoria sponge – if you’re lucky. I wasn’t. Can I blame the oven? Was I too hasty with the mixing? Did I weigh the ingredients or just throw them in the bowl? Was it the tins that were no good?

When baking works, the result is a thing of wonder. How can greasy fat, grains of sandy sugar, white powder and the slimy albumen and round yoke of an egg turn into something so completely different to the component parts that were in the mixing bowl?

A mixture of individuals, thrown together to live and work in harmony. It could apply to the family, a local community, the church, the cricket team. Sometimes, despite best efforts, these human mixtures aren’t as effective as we might wish. The cake gets burnt, or comes out lop-sided, or is as flat as a pancake. What do you do? Check what might need a bit more attention, what needs to be changed, and then try again. Same with human relationships. Each person has a valuable contribution to make in the shaping of a family or team but it requires work and perseverance. Commit, communicate and cooperate. And never give up!




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