Thursday, 26 August 2010

The Darling Buds of August

I can't do it any more. I can't eat and eat and drink enough to sink a battleship and then get up bright eyed and bushy tailed the following morning. (This has nothing to do with the fact that I'm 44 on Saturday does it?)

I feel I let the side down badly. You see we've just spent a few days with B's sister L and her partner JB whose idea of hospitality would put Ma and Pa Larkin in the shade.

Where we, credit-crunch fashion, can make an M&S dine in for two serve a family of four, they serve up a family of four plus themselves enough for a family of 12 who have invited the local rugby team over for dinner and there's still enough left for seconds and thirds and left-overs.

The table groaned under the weight of a particularly delicious cannelloni which was accompanied - fusion style - by melt in the mouth Indian spiced courgette fritters, Greek salad and four loaves of garlic bread.

I think - although my memory is slightly hazy - that was the day we started off with two pints of the local beer before progressing on to bottles of Bordeaux. Glasses never seemed to empty. The level of wine stayed resolutely half an inch below the top of the glass no matter how much was imbibed.

Then there was dessert, a cartwheel of a pie laden with creamy custard studded with honeyed greengages. That was just perfect with a glass or two of Calvados - but that could have been the night before the cannelloni meal. Like poor Cedric "Charley" Charlton in the Darling Buds I rather lost track of time and why I was there in the first place. After three days of such lavish and generous hospitality I was in danger of collapsing in a quivering heap of indignant gall bladder.

In other words they spoiled us rotten and we had a fine old time. It wasn't all eating and drinking - though that was the major part - we also visited B's Mum, wandered damply around Windsor, patted Sefton (the second, not the original) at the local horse sanctuary and I fitted in a three mile run past the Spitfires at Bomber Command and back.

Patting Sefton.
This (below) is L and JB's gorgeous cat Isabelle who must be well over 100 in cat years.

She's recharging her solar batteries on the windowsill (where she wouldn't be allowed to be if she wasn't of such advanced years). This is who is really in charge of this household.

Then it was back home down an M4 which resembled a river - a long and tiring journey. We got back to a cold and damp house, a pile of early birthday cards for me and this message on the answerphone courtesy of an Indian call centre. If you clicked it you'll know he called me "fatty" but he called me "sexy" first so I can't complain. I have to laugh because I've called Indian call centre workers much worse in my time and it sounded as if the poor thing was having a particularly exasperating day. Mind you, if he'd called me "old" I would be out there now, hunting him down...


  1. Living down here in the heat as stifled my appetite, but reading all the lovely food you had as made my mouth water....maybe if the temps they are forecasting for the next few days -34c in the shade- don't really happen, I will be making some of the delicious dishes.

    Glad you had a fabby holiday and thanks for sharing it with us, food, drink and all...!

  2. Good, bout time you got spoiled rotten - and that phone call has made me laugh and laugh today!

    Welcome home!

  3. I love receiving that kind of hospitality and love giving it out too, then am always worried that people have gone home groaning and clutching their stomachs! But, sneakily, you managed a run, so you worked out a way to survive, and you must be young, because you managed a run.QED.

  4. Happy birthday, Mags.

    You certainly did get treated royally, as is befitting a woman of your stature. And you even went for a run. Not sure how you accomplished that, but well done, just the same.

    Best for the next year!

  5. OK need recipe for indian spiced courgettes and cartwheel pie asap !!! Sounds like my sort of entertaining, I tend to cater for a huge crowd when we have visitors and all my serving dishes feed at least ten people, but they still get emptied as if by magic!!! it is wonderful to be spoilt like that!!

  6. My husband's family is Spanish and when they get together it is to eat, we do it in honor of my Mother-in-law who is gone now.
    Your meal sounded heavenly, and if you think 44 slows you down throw 20 more years on!

  7. Yeah, Mac n' Janet; you're right about the extra 20 years. That's where I am. And even thought I was going flat out (just a few weeks ago), I lost a race with a tortoise.

    Still, happy 44th Mags.

  8. Hi Mags.!

    Happy Birthday.!

    So pleased you were spoilt rotten, as for me my running days are over.!

    Lovely pics you have posted Mags, have a lovely day on Saturday.

    Love Camilla.xx

  9. OMG that call centre message is brilliant!!!! And good for you to let us in on it... I will think again when answering the phone to them, as they always sound so INCREDIBLY polite. NOW we know what they are really thinking...


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