A week has past since the Great Herman Debacle and life is gradually returning to normal at THQ. True, the walls around the boiler may never return to their original colour and there is a faint yeasty smell in the air which has proved resistent to even the most liberal daily doses of Febreze. We have been all but living on a delicious apple and cinnamon cake which issweet and  crispy on top and moist in the middle as a good cake should be. The bruise on my hip is fading and tomorrow we’ll pick up my coat, jacket and trousers from the dry cleaner – hopefully cakemix free.

Above all we got back in touch with some old friends. Rose calledfrom Canterbury to say that just when she thought her week couldn’t get any worse someone had played a horrible practical joke on her in the post. We declined to offer any further explanations but then Hannah rung from the Post Office, where she had been judiciously summonsed to explain why the morning’s mail bound for Fulham was all stuck together.

“If I hadn’t recognised your writing I would have called the police!”, she chided.

Finally, Olivia sent us this picture from Sailsbury of the package she received the following day:

Never underestimate the potential mess involved in sending live yeast in the post

If at first you don’t succeed: Herman arrives in tact (more or less)

I would hesitate to call the episode an unmitigated success. On reflection I think sending ANYTHING living in the post is probably best avoided. In this instance it seems the pressure of the gas given off by the metabolising yeast (like a frail shoot punches up through thick tarmac) was enough to cause lid and tub to part company somewhere on the tube, and then again in the local sorting office.

We have heard several mentions of Herman the German Friendship cake since then and each time we roll our eyes knowingly and swear that if anyone pulls that stunt again it’s going straight in the bin. You know, the one with the dent in it.

A strange sight would have met your eyes, were you to have entered the kitchen of Tea Head Quarters on the morning of the 10th day. I couldn’t get the stamps off the ruined envelopes, so there they sat, limp and discoloured on the draining board to dry while a bowl-full of cake mixture bubbles along contentedly from its prefered spot on the toaster.

We resent the cake again, this time using surgical tape and industrial quantities of string to stop the lids from erupting, while we completed the final stages of the recipe.

Delicious apple cake enjoyed with a cup of tea

After all the excitement of the last few days it’s nice to sit down with a piece of cake and a cup of tea. The end product is delicious, even if the smell has pervaded the entire house for over a week previously.

We’re meant to be “stiring well” every day for 4 days. What does that mean, exactly? I take it to mean 3 or 4 quick stirs with a teaspoon.

Herman is hungry so we add sugar and flour to the yeast mix

Herman is looking pretty content, comments Lily. Little does she know I have been spiking it…

“Herman is hungry” says the instructions. Lily is besides herself with excitement so I decide not to let slip that I already fed it the day before. Not much appears to be happening so we move it to on top of the boiler. It can now only be reached by standing on a bin, balanced on a chair. We very nealry loose the whole thing when Lily gets up in the middle of the night “to check up on it…”