Yesterday, I met a dear friend for lunch. She was treating me for my birthday. Although my birthday was last month, it mattered not one jot that we were having our lunch yesterday – we’re both busy people, she has also been away on holiday, and yesterday was the first day convenient to us both.
We chose to have lunch where we last had lunch together (for my friend’s birthday in July), at our local hostelry, the Palace on the sea front. I was glad that we had decided to meet at 12 noon because, not having booked a table, unreserved tables were few but we managed to find one in the conservatory where it was bright and sunny.
My friend had brought me a lovely bunch of salmon pink roses (top photo) and I have now put them in the copper lustre jugs on the mantelpiece. I love pink roses and these look especially good as the colour of pink matches almost exactly the pink in the Royal Crown Derby lidded box.
This was the conservatory as we were leaving yesterday. There is an area, equally the size of this one, behind me, and all the tables in that area were taken, too. You might notice that the Christmas trees are ‘up’ – they were being decorated when I arrived, and in the foyer a tall one, reaching to the ceiling, was being adorned in brilliant turquoise blue baubles and bows. Not my favourite Christmas colour, but I suppose it was chosen to go with the blue carpets which are throughout the ground floor of this hotel.
My friend chose vegetable soup and I chose a Thai fish cake, with a bowl of sweet potato chips to share.
My friend’s soup looked very thick, but I’m sure it was nourishing. We both chose a dessert of Bailey’s creme brulee, and it was delicious. I forgot to take a photograph before I started to eat …
We didn’t have coffee, we were too full, and to drink we both chose something simple, my friend having tonic water and myself sparkling mineral water.
But this isn’t really about food, or the setting, but about friendship. How fortunate those of us are who have good friends, really good friends, those with whom we can talk freely, about not only things in general but things which are close to our hearts. Those who help us if called upon, those who love and understand us. So let us celebrate friends and tell them how much they, in turn, are loved and appreciated.
Another friend had called the previous afternoon. I haven’t known this friend as long as my friend with whom I had lunch yesterday, but she is just as dear to me. The length of time that we have known our friends doesn’t really matter, does it? Of course, we treasure those whom we have known for decades – I have one friend I’ve known since I was 7 years old and I met her on my first day at school in Devon, having moved with my parents from Lancashire. Also, my friend in Canada who was my bridesmaid and who had introduced me to my husband way back in 1962. She is one of the dearest friends and an ocean separating us can’t ever come between us! Another dear friend I also met at school and she became my next door neighbour when we were both young married women in the 1960s.
The friend who called on Monday afternoon I’ve known only a year or two, but we are totally on the same wavelength, as the saying goes. She said she was on her way to a charity shop with a pile of magazines but suddenly thought that I might like them? Would I like magazines? Does a cat not like cream? I said that I would pass them on to a charity shop when I had finished with them …
The Simple Things – with which many of you will already be familiar – is a very attractive magazine, and I have enjoyed looking at these. I’ve only browsed through them as yet and will soon sit down and take them more slowly, one at a time. The photography is superb.
Although this magazine promotes the ‘simple things’, simple doesn’t always mean inexpensive: for example, there are wonderful pages of recipes but then I look at the ingredients … a cake requiring rose petals and rosewater, and a ‘salon supper’ with dishes that include asparagus, parma ham and pomegranate. Nothing wrong with such recipes, but they are neither simple nor inexpensive. But there are features on interesting subjects and here and there a short story or a poem. I particularly enjoy some pages of short, snappy features under the collective title ‘Miscellany’, which include funny little snippets of information, the kind which could appear in one of those up-market children’s magazines such as Aquila or Whiz-Pop-Bang. There are also articles on things which bring comfort: scent in the home, flowers, and filling the house with hand-crafted items. But this magazine is not about frugality and I don’t think it pretends to me, but it is about making our homes as lovely as possible and enjoying yes, the simple things in life. Which I think most of us would wish to do. These magazines are like lemon drizzle cake on a summer’s afternoon, or a mug of hot chocolate by the fireside in winter.
Now for something completely different (as the Monty Python team used to say):
My version of the simple things, but here I’ve opted for frugality, too. I used – I could say “used up” – cold cooked chicken (left over from Monday’s roast) with some macaroni and leeks and made a chicken, leek and pasta bake for lunch, served with toast made from the last of the bread in the packet. Three of us to lunch today, elder son was here as our daughter in law was at work and our grandson, still on half term from school, was at holiday club run by his former nursery.
Finally, did those of you in the UK see the wonderful sunset last night? We don’t have a particularly good view of sunsets here, the view to the west being obscured by houses, but the whole sky was red, it looked wonderful.
And then, just as quickly as it arrived it began to fade …
The sky became purple, and then inky blue, eventually, not ten minutes later, night time had descended on the Close.
Until next time.