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Cakes rule takes the biscuit

PUBLISHED: 15:48 12 March 2008 | UPDATED: 08:52 13 July 2010

WHENEVER life's particularly drear, difficult or downright ridiculous, my family know that I'm going to say: "Let's just drive to Scotland".

Perhaps we'll be en route for Sainsbury's with an empty fridge, no list, no ideas and threepence-halfpenny.

WHENEVER life's particularly drear, difficult or downright ridiculous, my family know that I'm going to say: “Let's just drive to Scotland”.

Perhaps we'll be en route for Sainsbury's with an empty fridge, no list, no ideas and threepence-halfpenny.

Or, as this week, when we pick up from the doormat ever-huger annual bills from Anglian Water and for council tax.

My fantasy is that we ignore it all, pile into the car without hesitation and head due north, eventually arriving at some remote

Highland bothy where we

spend the rest of our lives,

away from 21st-century

stresses.

I had a silent such moment recently while talking to a

couple in a north Norfolk care home for elderly people.

All was going well until they mentioned the party their resident relative would be having at the home to mark her birthday.

“Whose baking the cake?” I asked. “Oh, we're not allowed to bring homemade cakes into the home. They have to be bought ones, for health and safety reasons,” they said.

It was at that moment that I heard the siren skirl of bagpipes and the beckoning wind through the heather.

What madness is this? How many care homes in north Norfolk impose this rule? Are they all being forced to comply with some ridiculous regulation or have just one or two of them decided to play ultra-safe at the expense of common humanity and common sense?

Spending one's final years in an institution - albeit run by the most caring people - must make

home comforts especially appreciated.

Homemade birthday cakes, with their uneven sponges, dips in the middle, icing drips, that great, authentic taste, and the knowledge that someone gave their time and love to the endeavour, make the memories which make a happy life.

I can't believe that any home would deny an elderly person such a simple pleasure.

Do other local care homes include this in their house rules? I'd be intrigued to hear of further instances and whether you think it's justified.

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