Celia Gray, my grandmother, passed away in November 12-years ago.
We loved to cook together, she in her apron and I in mine. With long afternoons ahead of us, we would thumb through her cook book, filled with stray recipes and notes, with scribble inside the cover.
She would lay the rings that are now mine on the windowsill, we would wash our hands, and we would begin.
Often these days, I like to take small collections of the things I have of her and sit with them awhile, just remembering her handwriting or scent, which is laced inside old boxes and tins if I only open them from time to time.
More often than not, we would choose to make scones which are so simple and yet such a big treat when piled high with vanilla clotted cream and cherry jam. We would invariably take ours just with butter or plain - her baking still spoke of the Second World War - carefully rationed.
I remember she would hover over me as I cut-mixed the dough with a blunt metal knife, and she would say knowingly "Never with a spoon." as it bound together with the cold milk.
We'd peer through the oven door as the little rounds, brushed with egg, would turn golden at first and then begin to rise into clouds.
She was one to wait for things to cool thoroughly but just sometimes, she'd break one in her hands, smear it with a little butter and we'd share it, ours palms cupped to capture the crumbs.