Thursday, 17 April 2008

Lazing on a Sunday afternoon

After a hectic few days it was nice to have a day relaxing at Rock HQ.

We spent a lazy morning feeding the animals and clearing up their mess before we sat down to a family breakfast of Rock Specials.

Ben was the last to join us at the breakfast table, wearing the same trouser and shirt combo as yesterday. It transpired that Ben had been so tired he had fallen asleep on the sofa, waking when Beth came in from work at half eleven, engaged in conversation with her, phoned his girlfriend in Ireland and then fallen back to sleep whilst talking to her. He next remembered waking at 6am when he finally made it to his bedroom.

Today was going to be a good day, not only were we all together a t Rock HQ for the first time since early March enjoying a hearty breakfast, but some friends of ours were visiting, which is always nice, and they were bringing lunch with them which was even better!

Tracey and I went back outside to waste time with the animals and the kids did their version of tidying the house which is never my favorite pastime. A kid tidying is like an adult tidying except they mop around things or dust around things rather than move them and do it properly, or they hide stuff, not putting it away, they hide it.

Just before lunch, to a rousing background chorus provided by our mental dogs, two cars appeared on the drive. Kay, Tim and their son Matthew carried boxes of food through to the kitchen whilst Matt, Justine and their three boys, Oliver, Harry and Hamish fought off the enthusiastic welcome of the Bernese Mountain Dogs.

Kay had excelled in the lunch department, I wasn’t sure what she had planned when she said she would bring lunch over but I certainly hadn’t expected four delicious curries, all the accompaniments and enough cheese to stock a small shop for the cheeseboard.


Even better they gave me a bottle of single malt whiskey for my birthday. I love single malt whiskey and have a small collection of the lovely Scottish Elixir, enough to supply me with hangovers for many years to come. I was going to pour it into the decanter they gave us a couple of years ago but as Matt, who used to work for some Whiskey producer couldn’t categorically assure me it wouldn’t go off so I put it carefully with the others, in the dark cool surroundings of the pantry. Putting it there also makes it less accessible which means it might just last a bit longer.

We had not seen Matt and Justine for nearly two years so there was a lot of catching up to do. Last time I saw their children they were small, now they were all so much bigger, an amazing change. Justine did pass comment on my lack of ability to send Christmas cards; I failed to mention that I had written them, addressed them but failed to post them. This year everyone should get last year’s card, if I remember two things. One, where I have put them, somewhere safe obviously, but I am notorious for putting stuff in safe places, so safe I can never find them again, and two, actually post them. So should you get a card from Rock HQ this year with last years stamp on you will know I have been successful. If you don’t get one its either because I haven’t found them, or more likely I have, or replacements for them, but I am still driving round with them in the car promising myself that I will stop and stick them in a post box.

However I was able to give Matt and Justine’s children their Christmas present from two years ago, something else I never got round to posting, luckily it was still useful, they wouldn’t have grown out of it. No one ever grows out of Scalextric sets.

Except girls.

After a tour of the smallholding where they saw Trevor misbehaving, dogs running off, sheep with cute lambs, maniac goats who were eyeing up the possibility of sitting on our visitors car roof ( a favourite goat trick, you have been warned!) and chicks hatching out of eggs in the incubator, we all assembled in the kitchen for lunch. Kay had either seriously underestimated the number of people for lunch or had overestimated the amount of food the human stomach can hold. The table visibly sagged under the weight of curry, nan breads, rice and pickles. I had died and gone to curry heaven. We all tried our best but even after three platefuls each it looked like we had hardly made an impact, Matt bravely set out on a fourth plateful while Tim exercised his lunch off by washing up. What excellent guests! They provide the food and wash up!

After gorging ourselves on spicy food we then got the cheese board out, well, cheese table actually as there was so much. Whilst we took a tour of the worlds famous cheeses washed down with vintage port, a present from Ireland for Ben, we all took turns in reciting favorite passages from Monty Python’s cheese shop sketch, a compulsory activity for anyone faced with any sort of cheese selection.

Time and crackers passed and so our visitors left Rock HQ, everyone happy, all extremely full. We promised to visit Matt and Justine who now live in some far flung place in the UK rather than just down the road. Kay was thanked by all for such a lovely lunch and we were left with the happy prospect of curry and cheese for Dinner for the next fortnight as she very generously put all the leftovers in our fridge.

I love food.

Especially when it’s free.

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