“They read your site you know” I was warned – albeit a couple of days ago – of a vicar joining us for a family Christmas Eve meal at a favourite restaurant. I never know quite what to make of comments like that. The site is here to be read: it’s kind of the point of it really.
Today’s grand meal at The Italian Orchard has been a set piece of gathering together to enjoy fine food, good wine, and good company. Even with my mother deciding to stay home as a winter cold triggered her asthma there were eight of us around the table and we all enjoyed the little bubble of relative luxury and pampering that such a setting allows.
The warning – such as it was – came of the other family joining us, the vicar of the parish that my parents are part of and her husband and son. Quite what this warning was meant to highlight is something if which I’m unsure: I’m told that my writing was found enjoyable, even if the route by which my blog was directed to her attention is as yet unclear.
“I love your drawings” I was told – and so we went from there. As the afternoon drew on my fingers began twitching for paper, so Lady M provided a notebook and I doodled away to let the daemons out – but quite why a warning was required in the first place I’m still not entirely sure. Perhaps there was a concern that I would be taken aback by someone knowing something of me – and of all the many things I talk about here it was nice to have it just be about my need to draw and illustrate.
My biggest frustrations come from having to throttle my creative impulses, so talking about my process, both conscious and unconscious, was relatively relaxing and eased us then into our respective small huddles if conversation as we indulged in the food and atmosphere before us.
All in all, talking about my artwork rather than my stories, or my relationships was probably the least contentious approach for all concerned. Perhaps the warning was more one to me of keeping the conversation to safer waters than delving into polyamory, mental health, or any other aspects of life around the dinner table.
Who knows – it was an odd injunction but a lovely meal and set of conversations where grand nonsense flowed and a great time was had.
And now for a quiet chill out and companionable silence as Lady M and I nurse our cuppas and collapse a while.
Its not all doom and gloom round here, despite it all. A long week has been topped off with not one, but two evenings out with friends – so it’s not surprising I’m feeling shattered today.
Friday night we were out with the motley crew from the local gym – or at least those hardy souls who brave the various classes each week. The local Chinese restaurant echoed to laughter and chatter all evening, and many calories will have to burned off in consequence. I may be protesting too loudly there.
Then last night we finally caught back up with Sir S and Lady W in a pub not far from Waterloo station. He’s been utterly caught up in his opera courses and shows, while Lady W has been completing her studies, so this was our first real chance to catch up in some time.
As an ex-chef, Sir S always has an eye on the food in the places we visit, so it should come as no surprise to hear that the apparently spit and sawdust pub he introduced us to had some of the best burgers I’ve had in quite a while.
We stayed until almost the last train home and stumbled home in a refreshingly light rain through the deserted Sunbury streets.
I’m exhausted, but for a change its for a good reason.
Unlike last year, we haven’t been doing a closely regimented plan of Disney parks and activities. Instead its been sort of based around where we’ve reserved or planned meals and we’ve meandered around the parks. It’s the first time Cousin A has been anywhere like it, and between that and our introducing her to rollercoaster it has been a grand adventure.
We’ve been pleasantly surprised by how much she’s embraced it all. We started with Peter Pan’s Flight, Haunted Mansion, and Pirates of the Caribbean, and suddenly she was up for Thunder Mountain. We’ve not looked back since, and so today we went on the Indiana Jones ride, which includes a loop the loop halfway through. The minute we heard laughter behind us, we knew all was well.
We’ve dined well so far too. Lunches have generally been simple burgers and the like, but we ate at the Silver Spur last night, and had character dining at Auberge de Cendrillon this evening. We’ve always loved good food and a bit of theatre with it, so flirting with Suzy and Perla – the mouse seamstresses – and introducing our princesses to the Disney Princesses, made for a gloriously magical evening. Everyone also assumed the cousins were sisters, so the in-joke is now to introduce them as twins. What’s the worst that could happen?