Bedding the Banana

The frosts will soon be here. So before they do my young friend decided to tuck up her banana plant carefully for the coming winter. Very sadly she took her secaters and chopped off the leaves - even though they looked perfectly healthy - and then decapitated the fat stem. 

She then encircled the plant with bamboo stakes about six inches away from the centre and enclosed it with a strong wire cage. This was then filled with fresh barley straw pushed down firmly to keep the banana stem nice and warm till next spring. Finally the edifice was covered with bubble wrap to stop the rain getting in and tied with a piece of raffia.

On Wednesday I went to London to attend the Royal Society of Miniature Painters annual show. My first task was to choose the portrait I consider to be the most accomplished in order to give my prize - The Mundy Portrait Award. I've been giving this prize for over 30 years now. My friend Judy Fraser is responsible for the beautiful calligraphy which I enclose in a gold painted frame together with a real sovereign. This year I awarded it to Michael Coe - one of the best miniature portrait painters in England today. The gallery is located on the Mall. 

The world's most prestigious prize for miniature painting is the RMS Gold Bowl. It's awarded each year  and is made of solid gold, worth about £40,000. Even the silver-gilt replica - which the winner gets to keep - is valued at over £1,000. (Mine sits proudly in my trophy cabinet)

The exhibition was due to be opened at 3pm by Paul Martin - the TV antique expert - but for some reason or other he failed to turn up. 

We haven't given a dinner party for some time but last Friday my young friend and I combined our culinary talents. She made the main dish and I made the first course and dessert. We had invited two Kniights of the Realm and their Ladies, so wanted to make the evening a bit special. It all went very well, albeit a bit of a worry when whisking up the meringue to cover the stuffed pears with. 

On Sunday afternoon the sun shone and the wind behaved itself so we decided to make what will probably be our last trip on the river this year on the dinghy. First things first - 

Making sure the Pimms was on board we made our way towards Henley Bridge. My young friend was captain and in charge of the electric motor and steering, while I lazed around at the front of the boat.  Passing by the Angel on the Bridge

...we carried on up river to the boathouse reach in sight of St Mary's church

And here I am with a view of my flat in the background. 

A nice little trip followed by a visit to Sue's garden and a lovely dinner at Val's.