Another - yes, yet another - pile of papers thudded through the letter box this morning from the lawyers. Get quotes from gardeners, decorators, sign this, read that. Hah. It can wait till next week. Brain overload. And England is out of the World Cup (rugby) after a dire performance this morning. The skies are grey and the wind is chilly. My leg hurts and so does my head. And don't forget my ex-camera.
Have I painted a picture well enough for you to see the mood? Gloom. Grey.
However, I have coffee and I have baked 2 apfelkuchen (apple cakes) and a cinnamon cake. David wanted to bake the cinnamon cake, but did not emerge till just before the allotment clear up began, and then decided he needed to flop, poor thing, so I baked it. All that digging, clearing, sawing, you see. We were all down there - Margaret and Derek and John, who share the allotment. It is too big for me to do alone now, and this way 3 families benefit. And David and me. I took the cool drink and biscuits to keep the rest moving, and fully intended sitting in the chair supervising, but ended up with a rake, collecting piles of leaves instead, to bag, so they can rot down over winter.
Memories today - well, while I was baking, I was thinking back to when I was young, and had 2 little children, and how I loved to bake and entertain. Back then, on a Saturday night, my friends often called to see if we were home, and then popped round with whatever they were having for supper, so we combined all the food, and had great times together. The children had a ball and we loved getting together informally. In the summer, it was always round the pool, maybe a BBQ.
I will take that a little further - I honestly thought that some of them had noses which could sense or smell when I was baking, because they all used to roll up and perch in my kitchen, sneak some cookie batter, or freshly baked biscuits. I used to carry on the baking, while they made coffee, and just chatted. I love the informality, you see That was a hard adjustment here - but I think I have trained my friends well. They do pop in unannounced. And I really don't mind at all. It is all about the people, and not the mess, because at times the house is chaotic, but I just ignore that, and so do they. I think. They keep coming back so it must be good. And they all know where the coffee stuff is too.
I also LOVED doing dinner parties back then. I loved making the table special too. Christmas was wonderful. Especially the one huge Christmas Eve do I had, with about 20 people. That was when I was cooking fancy turkey stuffed with duck, stuffed with chicken, stuffed with stuffing, and just as I served the starter, I realised that the oven had died. Well. I called Geoff and my father, who were sitting there at the table in dinner suits, out to the kitchen and told them we had a minor crisis. So there they were, running up and down the road to my parents' house, clutching turkey stuffed with ....you get it.
I turned the plate in the microwave/convection heater over, and then stacked all the veg - the roast potatoes etc on top of each other, and wacked up the heat, completely ignoring the manufacturer's instructions. Emergencies require lateral thinking! Then wafted into the dining room to pour more wine, and inform the rest of the guests that the main course was a trifle delayed. Then retired to the kitchen to do as much as I could on the top of the stove.
Ah, memories. It all worked out brilliantly in the end, and even if the food was much later than anticipated.
And then there is the time I decided to have a brunch on Boxing Day. For 80 people, and only remember on Christmas Eve that all the shopping needed to be done by then, or we would have a disaster. I had a long trestle table in the dining room, with a watermelon bowl I carved, full of fruit salad, lots of roll, croissants, yogurt, cold meats and cheeses, and then, outside, I had 3 men on BBQs or the skottelbraai I talked about a few days ago - one cooking sausages, one doing bacon and onions, and one cooking frankfurters stuffed with cheese and rolled in bacon. I was in the kitchen making scrambled eggs, and we wandered back and forth and cooked as required. It was amazing. Just a fabulous way to entertain, and relatively little could go wrong! And there were plenty of people to volunteer turns at cooking too. it was a beautiful hot summer day and we were all in bathing costumes with sarongs. Well, I was. And the women were. Not the men. People arrived round 10am, and didn't leave till midnight. It was a good day.
I have photos in the album - I must scan them into the computer too. One day. And Guy Fawkes. Well, I started a tradition of asking my friends to our house for fireworks. Everyone bought a packet of sparklers, R5.00 of fireworks (that was real money back then!) and a packet of sausages. So we had a BBQ first with sausages in rolls and salad, and then had the fireworks. Great fun. About 10 families would come, that meant 40-50 people) and all the Dads would sort the fireworks while the Mums watched the children up on the patio, away from danger. So when I moved to the UK, that first Guy Fawkes night (5 November) , I had calls from SA asking what was happening for the fireworks. Hmmm. They had to organise themselves, and the tradition died out over the years. But it was wonderful while we were there.
Memories trigger more memories. they keep piling up, trying to burst out. I just wish I had all the photos here for you to share. Maybe I will get that done in the next few days. And what about the time I managed to glue a guest's teeth together.........