Betty Twyford, Herefordshire's own domestic goddess
PUBLISHED: 10:09 06 January 2011 | UPDATED: 20:39 20 February 2013
Herefordshire's domestic goddess shares her Aga sagas
Betty escapes to the country
I live in the Herefordshire countryside, which I love beyond words. I embrace homemaking without resentment as I see this as the inspiration for everything we wish ourselves, and our children, to be. I love gardening, painting and craft work and I hold an M.A. in fine art. In the past I have owned and run a French restaurant, an architectural antiques business and appeared on television as an Aga cook and on Womans Hour as a woman running an unusual business.
My kitchen is my pride and joy, but I have to admit that I am not the worlds most enthusiastic cleaner. My shelves have been needing attention for weeks; dust building up along with a feeling of guilt. I am scrubbing away and trying to whistle cheerfully when the telephone summons me.
Apparently, Escape to the Country, a programme which entices people to seek their dream property in the far reaches of the English countryside, is coming to Herefordshire. Ever such a nice young man called Jason has heard that Betty can cook, and would she be interested in showing a couple of city dwellers how to use an Aga?
I jump at the chance to inject a little excitement into the daily grind. It is afterwards it dawns on me that perhaps I could have thought the scenario through more thoroughly. I have heard that the television can increase ones weight by at least 10lbs, (and I am starting with a bit of a handicap) my first concern is what to wear to combat this gain? I tell myself that black would be a good choice.
Filming day arrives, but there have been several mishaps the least of which is a broken down fridge. The new fridge manages to arrive 15 minutes before the camera crew are expected and I am emptying the broken one and filling the new one with a stoic but furious determination. The fridge men are complaining they have to be elsewhere, and how long will I be? I have decided the only thing to be done is to smile, all the time. The fridge delivery men disappear, but not before they have backed into my gate. The telephone rings, the camera crew is lost. I thank my guardian angel, give them directions and decide to have a small brandy to calm my nerves.
The camera crew arrive, disgruntled, cold and very tired. They have been filming since six oclock and it has not gone too well by the look of things. Steve and Marion (the couple who need to change their lives) have lost their sense of humour, and apparently Marion keeps forgetting her lines. The statement Its a wrap has been infrequently uttered. I am serenity personified. The brandy is doing a great job. My interlocutor is Tim Vincent (I must be the only person who has never heard of him...), apparently he is everyones heart-throb. He is spending most of his time outside having a fag and a crisis on the telephone.
I am all set to demonstrate how competent I am at producing a good cake. By now I have sneakily had another swig of brandy if only
Tim Vincent would come and show some interest...
Lights, camera, action... Betty launches in. I am to cook Welsh cakes and a sponge. Too vain to wear my glasses on television I am at a bit of a disadvantage. Which mix is which? Is that sponge or Welsh cake? How many eggs? Tim Vincent is charming. He asks questions I can answer, comments on how perfectly an Aga complements a country kitchen, cracks a joke to encourage Marion and Steve and we are all laughing and smiling and happy.
It is a wrap. I am exhausted. They all leave. I glance down at my figure- hugging black velour zip-up and notice that both of my boobs are covered in flour. And Tim didnt say a word...
When cooking Welsh Cakes
on an Aga, leave the simmering plate top up to reduce the heat, grease the hob with olive oil and place flattened small cakes onto
the heat with a fish slice turn once and eat smothered in butter and jam while still warm.