Another year, another Easter.
As with the traditions of Christmas, I get tremendously excited about creating a proper Easter breakfast. I know this is my OCD coming out - 'proper', in my mind, is the recreation of the family rituals for which my parents set the template.
My father was an artist and a graphic designer. He worked, as art director and then creative director, for a London advertising agency (it no longer exists) and throughout my childhood he often worked all weekend. I well remember him in our front room, the dining table in the big bay window set up as a desk, and him sitting there at the drawing board - often fairly bad-temperedly - designing Easter Egg boxes. I don't recall which chocolate manufacturer these were for, but whoever they were, they were only one of the many accounts he worked on. (He could be doing anything from Gordons Gin adverts to Stoddards carpets or Cussons soap) But I am still in awe of this skill at the paper engineering required to develop an Easter egg box.
The real eggs, which were to be boiled for our breakfast, were painted by my dad. Before cooking each vibrantly coloured egg sat in its highly polished silver egg cup, on a silver stand at the table centre, silver teaspoons - hooked into a crescent slot between each cup - radiating out like stamen. Of course, once boiled, the designs faded and the eggs were then broken and eaten - making them the ultimate in disposable art.
(One year I painted the eggs. It was probably 1963. As there were five of us in our family, I must have done something for the fifth egg, but can't now remember what or who. The other four were caricatures of the Beatles. I have a feeling I might have attempted Cilla Black as the odd one out, but I am pretty sure I didn't try to do a Brian Epstein! )
And beside each Easter breakfast place setting would be the boxed chocolate eggs, for which my dad might well have been the orinating designer.
As we grew older, if anything, breakfast grew more elaborate as we, particularly me and my sister, no longer wanted all that chocolate. Now we would each have a little gift beside each plate, and one of those fluffy yellow chicks, which are now so prevalent. Depending when Easter fell, there would always be daffodils or an arrangement of Forsythia, or whatever could be gleaned from the garden (preferably yellow).
I'll never live up to those Easters. Partly because I'm sure I've romanticised the memory and in my minds eye they are far more idyllic then the reality. Perfection is unachievable.