The spring had arrived in full heated glory and for a moment there I was convinced that the time had come to entertain again. Cocktails in the garden by the stream, gazing lovingly at my fine and blossoming weeds and undergrowth. Lists were made of friends around the country who might be lucky enough to enjoy the bucolic moment, emails were sent, menus devised, seating plans puzzled over, wines and prosecco purchased in large quantities when................whooooosh, Bang, Crash and darkness!............The biggest storm here for 13 years and the farm power box is hit by lightening. No phones, no broadband for 10 days. We will gloss over the "no electricity for 48 hours", that is just not news worthy in these parts.
Then comes the rain, albeit very welcome, but it doesn't stop and then the sun goes behind dark and doom-laden clouds for 2 weeks. If I had been hit by lightening this might have been more useful as it would have undoubtedly given me a bit of a buzz and in fact may well have energized me for the next 40 years but, no, just my entire communication system! My mobile being a sensitive object only works half way up the hill and as you can imagine this was not entirely tempting in cold, damp, wet and windy days and impossible in the evening. So my glorious soirées were much ado about nothing and evaporated in a puff of smoke!
However, fate is a divine thing and having had a month of rain, summer is here, my garden is indeed looking rather cute. Not a weed in sight, the bank of the stream now has large clumps of blooming yellow flag iris and all the roses are having to be secured once again due to the enormous and heavy blooms. Enthusiasm is swift but brief and therefore a new list of dinner dates speed through the ether to my friends from near and far.
Now the fun starts, practising some new dishes for these culinary feasts over the next 6 weeks. Looking around I spy lofty branches swaying in the wind and huge elderflower blossoms heavy with rain but still smelling wonderful. So I searched for an elderflower ice cream recipe and have made it for dinner no.1.. I used the 6 egg whites to make a huge pavlova in which to put the ice cream and then will decorate it with fresh berries and mint leaves. I came across a recipe for Chocolate and Chilli Ice Cream and as all these ingredients were technically free ( woman's logic as I had them in the pantry and anything paid for with the previous month's housekeeping is free!); I proceeded to make pudding for dinner no.2...
The Pink Lovely aged 7 3/4 was hauled into taste them both to give her seal of approval but much to my surprise spat out the elderflower ice cream and gobbled up the chocolate and chilli which was a little confusing as she loves elderflower spritzer and hates chilli! I adored them both and so I shall give you the recipes ASAP.
The Pink Lovely by now totally suspicious at the number of dinner parties being planned became alert and interrogated me in a truly professional way. What do they teach them at school? Under duress, I finally admitted to FOUR. Are you MAD Darling? is her retort, you barely have time to bake cakes for the school summer fete the next day, have you forgotten my birthday party for 7 girls sleep-over the day after the next one? You cannot have forgotten that we are going to London that weekend ..no.3 and last but not least no. 4, you are already going to a party that weekend MUM. Do I need a diary, NO. My daughter is my diary, what an extraordinary brain she has.. I wonder why it has such marvellous recall for social activities and absolutely no recall on homework!
So, not entirely thought through, I would admit this is one of my most frequent moments of scattiness but why not juggle life a bit and create so much fun and amusement for your friends...............
How can life get any more exciting, it can and it does. Whizzing around Ludlow, I am accosted by a dear friend who tells me that a baby grand upright piano is lurking in the back of the auction house at that very moment. I have been searching (not very hard it would have to be said) for such a desirable object for going on 2 years. Off I speed forthwith and see this huge but first class piano that is actually in tune and in good condition. I fill in the forms, I find some friends already there and so sit down next to them. Butterflies abound, panic is near, actually total panic is here! bidding is not my thing at all. My neighbour kindly thumps me when the number comes up and my moment of triumph is near. Some joke is made as to how popular these antiquated monsters are, (missed that one!) and the first bid goes in at the highest price I had scribbled on my list. O.M.G. panic or what, so up goes the hand and Yes I did get it at the highest price because... no one else bid...........OOOOOOOOOOps. Oh well, that is the first and only time I will ever bid in an auction. The auctioneer was trying not to laugh unlike my friends who were spluttering into their brochures. Feeling rather aghast at the speed of everything my neighbour consoled me with the fact that she had actually bid against herself in her first auction until the kind auctioneer had informed her that he really was going to let her have the chest of drawers!
Four days later three burly men delivered the piano on the night that The Pink Lovely boards at school and I decorated it with balloons and left it for her return. The headmistress entered into the spirit of things and arranged for a surprise piano lesson that day much to the Pink Lovely's confusion. "Your birthday present has arrived, it is in the office". The Pink Lovely bursts into the room and stands there absolutely dumbfounded. She cannot believe her eyes! Mild panic as I translate this into disappointment that it wasn't actually an Ipod but then I see the smile spread across her face as she takes it in. I have recently invested in ear plugs but it is coming on nicely!