I use cake in many different ways. Yes I admit to being a user rather than an eater of cake. I could almost be said to be an addict. Which now I mention it is slightly odd. Because lately there seems to be a direct correlation between the number of codeine-based pills I consume in a day and the level of my cake craving. The more pills, the more profound the craving. My children appear worried about the level of my consumption of codeine. Did they but know that my cake intake far outstrips my dependency on codeine I believe their concern would be justifiable.
Perversely, this makes me feel a little bit better about the amount of cake that I scoff. It is not greed, self-indulgence or lack of self-discipline that forces me to ram handfuls of Battenburg or great slices of coffee and walnut sponge down my gullet. No indeed. It's a medical dependency about which I can do nothing. I should explain.
I get headaches. Bad ones. Often. Sometimes daily. In the good old days of not so long ago, one used to be able to buy pills over the counter which a] ameliorated the pain b] didn't send me scurrying for the cake tin. These pills have now been withdrawn because people like me tend to get addicted to them. Before they withdrew them they started writing things like NOT TO BE USED FOR MORE THAN THREE CONSECUTIVE DAYS on the packets. I had been using them for 40 years with no obvious side effects except for my foul moods, inability to hear, lack of general focus, lazy left eye and a memory with holes in it bigger than a colander. No other pills have ever worked because they don't have enough codeine in them.
So I went to the doctor who prescribed me pills with double the amount of codeine in them. Apparently these are not addictive - at least it doesn't say so on any label and the doctor didn't tell me so. So I presume they're not. And they stop the headaches - although I can't do anything else much as I lose control of nearly every muscle in my body. My tongue develops a life and, more worryingly, a thickness all of its own.
They do have a side effect however. I crave cake all the time. Which wouldn't be so bad if the consumption of the cake didn't precipitate the headaches themselves ....