Yet Another Birthday ……….. for Notre Grande Dame Speciale

Four score years and ten, that is going some and needs to celebrate.  My dear mother has reached this milestone and whilst some faculties may not be as finely honed as once they were, she remains her contented and charming self.  We all love her and were able to celebrate one Sunday lunchtime recently.  Nearly all her descendants and respective in-laws gathered at a hotel in a seaside town with its own small swimming pool, the latter amenity being a godsend for the numerous members of the youngest generation – 16 of them!

We gathered in the bar whilst we awaited the matriarch’s arrival.  We were all assembled when she arrived with Liz and she was hugely fussed over.  We went through to our small suite where we enjoyed a roast dinner with a fizz to toast and a happy cake moment later in the afternoon. For Nick no family gathering would be complete without an impromptu ‘bottle-walking’ competition!   After lunch the adults adjourned to the bar with a pool-viewing seating area where we could enjoy the aquatic frolics of our collective young.

With so much going on my photographic moments were somewhat erratic.  I had to scuttle round the bar taking a random set of photos.  I also forgot to photograph the cake and the lovely muffins that Chris made.  But the following gallery captures the spirit of the day, starting with breakfast at WK!

Georgy blows out his Candles.

And so the 12 days of Christmas roll on, and on the 3rd day we pop over the road for drinks with the Tuttles.  We meet Francois and Fefe, a charming couple who live in Centre Ville.  Yet again my newly acquired basic skills with canapes come into play and we enjoy champagne and chat whilst the two grandchildren sample the various nibbles.  French children are certainly more adventurous when it comes to foods and flavours and the little boy tucked into the Satay chicken sticks and the Thai fishcakes with gusto.  In the end we stayed on for a cold supper, feasting on fridge left-overs.

On Saturday evening we celebrated Georgy’s birthday.  Six of us squeezed into our car and drove the short route to Reville.  We took a composite gift with us: a heated propagator, seeds, twine, plant labels and 10 elegant steel spiral plant supports.  This was Nick’s brainwave after Georgy had consulted him about tomato cultivation.  Martin and Alain arrived with friends from Brittany and twelve of us sat down to enjoy a casserole of oxtail, assorted beef cuts and sliced marrow bones, the latter considered to be a delicacy.  Francois showed me how to winkle the marrow out of the bone, spread it on some French bread and sprinkled with a little bit of salt.  It was indeed delicious.

Gateaux were produced, Happy Birthday was sung and candles were blown out.  We then talked on into the evening, the women ending up in the kitchen for a gossip.  Rien ne change.