Sadie liked custard doughnuts. Strawberry, raspberry and even chocolate fillings were great, but nothing could beat that smooth, sweet taste of custard and pastry that filled you with a glowing sensation.
    Sadie had tried custard tarts, and custard with apple pie or treacle pudding. Somehow it wasn't the same. While all her school friends queued for crisps, coke and chocolate bars, Sadie was preferred to walk to the patisserie and collect her custard doughnut.
    Apart from her daughter's expanding waistline, Sadie's mother was also worried that this pastry preference was becoming the highlight of a young life that should have been filled with pop videos, parties, and boys.
    So Sadie's parents upgraded her computer, paid some computer geek to write a program that blocked pornography websites - and any reference to custard doughnuts - in the hope she would spend her spare time surfing the Web instead of pursuing confectionery.
    Sadie took to the Internet like a wart hog to mud. She wallowed in the online art galleries, interactive discussions on the state of the planet, and simulations of sounds made by dinosaurs.
    But, most importantly, she Googled custard doughnuts. It came up with caramel doughnuts, iced doughnuts, dinky doughnuts, even doughnuts for dogs - but no custard doughnuts. Sadie was puzzled. How was it be possible that such a comprehensive search engine couldn't find anything about custard doughnuts? Then she started to believe that they had been a figment of her imagination and it was just fate that she lived near the only patisserie on the planet that made them.
    One night Sadie went to bed sadly perplexed over the matter and woke the next morning feeling as though a void had opened up in her life. It wasn't until lunch time that she realised what had happened - her craving for custard doughnuts had disappeared.
    As time passed, that void demanded to be filled, yet it seemed that nothing could compensate for Sadie's old pastry addiction. Sport may have been all right, but she was too big and clumsy to pirouette on the asymmetrical bars. Reading was fine if you could find something that didn't involve fluffy animals or teenage angst, and there were only so many times you could play video games before everything became a blur. So Sadie sat in her bedroom, immersed in the Internet.
    Downstairs, her parents congratulated themselves that they had weaned their daughter away from her old craving for deep fried pastry which exuded a gelatinous yellow mixture. Perhaps she would now find a nice online club that wanted to save the whale, or even take cyber hikes across the Himalayas.
    Weeks passed. Sadie's friends occasionally called to go with her to the school's disco club. Her parents held their breath. Perhaps their big, clumsy, daughter was developing into a well balanced young woman after all.
    Then, in the middle of summer, a truck pulled up outside the house. It was carrying large blocks of stone.
    Sadie's mother looked aghast at the delivery slip. 'One 70x40x30cm of rough sawn limestone. Cost & delivery PAID.' She had no choice but to allow the two delivery men to wheel it into the back garden where it sat by the patio as though a gigantic garden gnome wanted to burst from it.
    Before going to her morning coffee club, Sadie's mother went up to her daughter's room. Under the bed she found a wooden box containing three stone chisels, a file, rasp, dust mask, protective goggles and a three pound iron hammer. It was now apparent what Sadie had done with all the money she had saved by not buying custard doughnuts.
    Sadie's first efforts with the hammer and chisel produced something shaped like an amoeba. It might have been useful as a giant's doorstop, and provoked several enquiries from neighbours anxious that the council had commissioned some modern sculpture to offend local taste. With help from the stone carver's website she had discovered, Sadie's work quickly improved.
    As her father looked out over his flower beds punctuated by huge stone animals, he wondered if he didn't after all prefer a plump, custard doughnut loving daughter instead of one with arms like Popeye capable of flattening the neighbourhood bullies. At least his golfing friends were impressed and their club commissioned Sadie to carve something monolithic as an interesting hazard on the ninth hole. It may have been paranoia, but when the sculpture was finished, her father had the horrible suspicion that it looked like a gigantic custard doughnut.

©Dandi Palmer