A comment on my blog recently suggested (with tongue firmly in cheek I suspect) that all the lunches and dinners I may mention are always in wonderful surroundings, and are all marvellous and delicious. Perhaps it’s because I only talk about the nice times. There are many exceptions. On Saturday, for example, a couple of friends were visiting and I had booked lunch at the Bull in Wargrave – a neighbouring village. When we arrived imagine our surprise to see a notice outside the pub reading “Kitchen Closed”. It seemed the chef had been mugged the night before in Reading and was in hospital! So we walked across the road to another pub – The Greyhound where I had just about the worst meal I can remember. We were the only people there and our lunch took nearly an hour and a half to arrive. Burnt up scampi, tasteless peas and soggy chips. What a treat! Not!
Contrast that with Good Friday. Annie and John Coury had invited about twelve friends to a very lavish affair at their house by the river in Wargrave. Annie’s table decorations at Easter are amazing – little chicks and coloured eggs pop up everywhere, and silver trees dangled with tiny mirrors and a myriad of Easter goodies. She’s a great cook and her fish pie was heavenly. A very happy occasion – I knew everyone there. Sitting next to me was Pip Williamson. He has been a vet all his life, and for the past couple of years since his retirement has been commissioned to be present in a professional capacity on TV programmes when animals and birds are being used. All to do with ensuring no cruelty takes place, or that the creatures are not subjected to stress. But I was amused when he told me that recently he was on set for nearly 6 hours while they filmed a commercial using three butterflies!
My big boat is nicely cleaned now. Or at least the outside is. I spent about 5 hours scrubbing it last Sunday, so apart from sprucing up the cabin, it’s ready to take out. My licence certificate arrived the other day so I’ll be able to go through locks as soon as the weather warms up.
Yesterday was a family day. At about eleven in the morning Neil and his family arrived from Waterlooville. As Becky is now eighteen it’s time to paint her eighteenth miniature – I paint one every year – so I had my big camera set up to take a few dozen photographs. We’ll then choose the best one for me to work from.
All four sets of nephews and nieces came to Henley yesterday and at about 12.30 we tootled off to The White Hart at Binfield Heath. We go there every Easter Sunday. This year it had changed hands and is now run by a Dutch couple. As there were 19 of us we had booked the conservatory at the pub where we all managed to just fit in. Somehow we seemed to be bigger this year, but I suppose all the children had grown somewhat. Interesting menu. I had smoked duck with whole cooked pear and fresh vegetables. We only had a main course as we all went back to Val’s house for pudding. She had made over a dozen different ones. Then came the Easter egg hunt and ‘the money game’ in the garden. When I lived abroad and came home on leave each year I collected all my coins and lined my nephews and niece up then threw the money all over the garden so they could run and find the coins. Now they are all grown up and have children of their own I do the same thing each Easter Sunday. This year I’d saved a couple of hundred 2, 5, 10 and 20 pence coins. I have nine great nieces and nephews ranging from two to eighteen.. I took a little video of it yesterday. Hope it comes out.