Iris and a Domestic Goddess
by Berwyn Rowlands
I’ve got six minutes, possibly seven! It depends if I can still hear the cake singing when I open the oven door. Honestly 60 seconds is all it takes to deflate what looked to the naked eye as a perfectly risen Victoria sponge if you open the door at the wrong time. There’s way more to this cooking malarkey than eating. You need to listen; to feel; be familiar with your ingredients. Some need to rest after cooking, some need to reach room temperature after leaving the fridge before they can do anything. And don’t get me started about the politics of cooking! If one other person tells me that a Victoria sponge needs cream and jam… Grant, my other half, seems to be very happy with just jam. As we start week six of lockdown, I’ve just finished my fifth Victoria sponge. It should have been six, but my other half wanted a go, and made a half decent creation with sultanas. Unfortunately, we were running low on flour on that day; I won’t mention the war! His creation was not quite what he had been expecting when he opened the oven door. But it did taste fantastic, especially after so much Victoria sponge. The blurred lines between work and home time could be quite confusing – but, somehow, I seem to be more productive during this period of lockdown. The “office” is in the dining room, which is next to the kitchen. I’ve always been a multi-tasker, juggling balls has never been a problem for me. The proximity of said new office to the kitchen lends itself to sharing the role of a Domestic Goddess with that of a Film Festival Director. I’m pleased I don’t have to choose between the two. The only downside to the lockdown is that I’m not able to share my culinary delights (modest is my middle name) with my family and friends and this obviously includes Team Iris. I’m joined by members of the team daily, with a full meeting at least once a week. It all feels so normal, and possibly it might be the future. Don’t get me wrong I still miss the direct human contact. Some of the best ideas I’ve been involved with happen when ideas physically bounce off one another while people are just hanging around. We can’t just hang about on Zoom all day waiting for a moment (or can you?). But humans adapt and the time we do spend together on whatever platform we choose becomes very precious. Today, I would like to think that as a team of people we all know more about what we are doing, because we have been more structured in sharing what we do with each other. Which is quite amazing considering the world of the pandemic seems to be challenging us every day. During this confusing period we have announced, whatever happens, we will be presenting one film maker with the Iris Prize this year. The date for your diary is Saturday 10th of October 2020. Thanks to The Michael Bishop Foundation we still have £30,000 to hand over to a filmmaker to make a new short film. That’s possibly more than six or even seven minutes! It was more like 30 minutes if I was honest. But don’t worry the Victoria Sponge was perfect, obviously, now that I’m a multi-tasking Domestic Goddess / Festival Director.