You may have noticed my photo has changed - this one was taken on Friday when I was out at lunch for a retirement do for one of my husband's oldest colleagues. We had a riotous time at a local restaurant I have been to 3 times in the last 2 months - I had a great prawn dish with garlic prawns, coriander and lime sauce. The waiter was a bright friendly guy who joined in our jokes, and kept us discreetly walled off in a private courtyard, so we didn't disturb other diners with our hoots of laughter and loud stories. It was a really good long lunch, with quite a bit of...um...celebrating.
I finally begged off at 3pm to return home and cook for the afternoon tea we hosted yesterday for my birthday. Excuse the red-eyes in the picture below, but its the only photo I have that shows any of the spread.
We had pumpkin scones, vanilla cupcakes(GF), orange and almond cake(GF), smoked salmon rolls and sandwiches, Greek hazelnut crescents, chocolate biscuits (GF), and a chocolate cake with chocolate butter cream, toasted pistachios and drizzled dark chocolate (yum), all washed down with tea and coffee in nice china cups, just like Ladies. When we'd finished being ladies we got stuck into a nice red wine to finish, but it was ostensibly an afternoon tea and I had a great time. It was marvellous to have an excuse to bake and bake and not to have to eat it all myself.
The girls really got stuck into the afternoon tea as well, and polished off the plates nicely, then sat under the table chatting to each other (6" away) via Facebook. It was hilarious.
It was a lovely excuse to dig out the good china. I especially enjoyed the way all the china connected me to women from my past. I had 3 teacup sets from my late Nanna, one I received for my 21st, 2 from a friend's mother that were gifted to me by my friend, a favourite plate from a late aunt of my husband, another plate from friends in Japan, my lighthouse cups, a set of 4 from my sister's wedding china that she gifted me with a few years ago. A silver fold-up tiered what-not from an elderly connection of the family. A china coffee pot that belonged to my late mother-in-law, whom I never met, and a small plate that was hand-painted by my paternal grandmother. She died when I was 15.
I feel very connected to these woman from all facets of my life. The guests included 3 friends I did midwifery with; 3 friends I have known from Mother's camp (one of whom is also a midwife); Lesley who I know from playgroup 20+ years ago, my daughter, two of my sisters, two nieces, Steff's friend A and my Mum. There were a few men present as well, but it was mostly a lovely gathering of women.
Ah, it did my heart good. What a lucky woman I am.
Not to mention the fact that this time next week I shall be in Amsterdam. Then the north of Italy. Then ... (squee) ... PARIS again! Sigh. I'm almost jealous of myself.