This time last week I was involved in the catering for a birthday party for sixty people. A friend and I divided the work between us but it was still all go. I made four quiches (salmon, asparagus and cream cheese, bacon and egg and red pepper, red onion and Red Leicester cheese), a new recipe salad from Mary Berry which involved red Camargue rice, carrots, onions and peppers with a dressing made up of oil, vinegar, limes and honey; two tiramisus and organising the ordering and collection of salmon, ham and two birthday cakes and several dozen rolls. It was non stop all afternoon and the one thing that I had really forgotten was just how hard it is to cater. The cooking is OK but it is the carrying, the lifting, the charging around etc that wipes you out. Last time I did something like this was nearly thirty years ago when I catered for a living but I was younger and fitter then. So this is my last big event of this type.
Was supposed to go to Orford on Monday to meet up with the family who had a cottage there for the week but my back 'went' on Sunday and I was bent double for a few days with a muscle spasm. I have these regularly if I overdo it and know that after three days or so of rest will clear it up. And so it did and I spent one day lying on the sofa watching England v India in a one day cricket international. We were pathetic as we always are in this format of the game and were thrashed.
Got to Orford on Thursday and greeted by a beaming Florence who ran to greet me when I arrived at the Quay where the family were crabbing. Beatrice was strapped in her buggy where she had to be put as she had been intent on hurling herself in the sea, and shrieked until she was let out and then she came careering across. Good lunch and then in the afternoon I looked after the girls for a couple of hours so that James and Helen could go out for a walk which they had been dying to do but could not manage with small children. We sat and watched Mary Poppins which Florence is currently obsessed with and I had forgotten what a superb film it is. By the time we go to the Step in Time number with the dancing chimney sweeps both of them were bouncing up and down on the sofa and shrieking with enjoyment. Beatrice decided to do a forward roll on the edge of the sofa and ended up on the floor with a thump. I nearly had heart failure but she just laughed.
Later on we all went to Orford Castle where it was really windy to fly Florence's kite (we all sang Let's go Fly a Kite from Mary Poppins as we went. You have to ignore what other people think when you are doing this sort of thing with grandchildren). I kept my eye on Beatrice which involved charging after her when she took off and as the ground around the castle is incredibly hilly with dells and channels to fall in I had to be on the alert at all times. At one stage she was off so quickly I was too late to prevent her going over the edge on one of these dips which was about ten feet deep and she just rolled down it laughing her head off. Her father came charging after me and then we both just looked at her lying there and chuckling. Totally fearless that child.
I babysat in the evening and Florence slept with me which meant I woke up in the middle of the night clinging to the edge of a large double bed while Florence was spread out like a starfish....
On the way home the next day I drove via Snape and stopped off for coffee and a croissant. I do love that place and that part of the coast at Aldburgh and Thorpeness and Orford. There is a wild beauty about it like no other and the sea seems bigger and wider under the sky.
I am back at Snape on Sunday to attend one of their proms. No luck getting tickets for the John WIlson orchestra at the Proms at the Albert Hall this year, so going here instead. Should be great fun and more of that another day.
Have just rounded off the week by watching another of the one day internationals, fell asleep this afternoon while it was on (obviously riveting stuff) and woke up to find that India had trounced us again.