After our Oxfordshire weekend, I have a busy week which incorporates the usual suspects. Bridge, lunch and supper dates, yet another spell in the dentist’s chair with a shell day with Harry and Anna thrown in. I also dig out all the paperwork for the Purple Dye chapter which I need to write. Talking of digging I put a few pots of things in the border where the Crinodendron is. I decide to resurrect the Garden Journal which Anne made for me a couple of years ago and stick a few photos in as aides memoires. We are coasting up to the weekend when my birthday celebration will start with a lunch for 10 at the Greyhound and this includes 2 immediate neighbours who share my birthday.
So the birthday week arrives and we leave WK and head for Whimple where we will visit our friend Hilary who paints. There is a picture to collect, now framed and we are going to have delicious lunch at The Jack on the Green with her. After a warming meal we drop her back at her home and head for a northern passage across Dartmoor. We are heading for Padstow and as the road climbs steadily to higher ground we are suddenly in a heavy flurry of snow, driving at the windscreen and settling soon on the road. The snow is so persistent I make a hasty rollcall of possible sources of sustenance in the car – the answer is virtually nil! As we continue on our way the weather subsides and we come to northern Cornwall, where, sure, there is snow on the ground but patchy. This covering will persist, in some pockets, throughout our stay.
The Old Custom House Hotel in Padstow is much to our liking and after a fortuitous hiccup we are upgraded to one of their suites which does us nicely.
So on the morning of the 3rd I wake to the pleasure of being in Cornwall and with a collection of cards and gifts to open. People are so kind and I feel spoilt. We are going to go to Porthcurno today, via Hardy’s Exotic plants to pick up a plant or two. We also pick up two warm pasties which we carry to Porthcurno and eat on the beach. Later we are going to meet Richard and Anne, part of our extended family and eat supper at Trevaskis Farm. We eat a magnificent three-course meal which I know will weigh heavily on the scales of reckoning when my extended birthday-fest comes to an end!
Thursday is Shang-ri La day where I find Stella, looking much much better and Rose who runs the show these days. Lunch in the bijou dining room will always be a sociable treat of a ritual and after Pam and Andrew arrive and it’s tea and carrot and walnut cake. I accompany Rose down the garden to see the snowdrops and have my breath taken away by the Hamamelis, chicly in flower. Dinner in the Pescadou restaurant at hour hotel piles yet more on the scales of dietary wrath.
On Friday we are going to visit Lis at Taunton and she lunches us at Augustus, her friendly neighbourhood restaurant. Here we talk more and eat less and it is good. Our last port of call is Clifford Bridge, home of friends with whom we always feel delightfully entertained and imaginatively well fed. A game of Spite and Malice with a glass of Amaretti on ice has me almost asleep over my playing cards. On the morrow we walk in their woods, enjoy a concoction of soup with bread straight out of the breadmaker. And then it is home James in our ‘new’ automatic Peugeot which has thoroughly won us over with its heated leather seats and satnav…………. yaaaay!