After Charlie’s visit Nick crossed to France and I spent a week at Winterborne K sorting and clearing. I weeded out papers from the filing cabinets and folders. I ditched lots of Conference and Meeting Abstracts, reports, correspondence and notes that I just don’t need and nor will anyone else. I carefully sift out things that I will pass along to Simon Taylor who now holds the post in Conch Soc that I held for twenty years. I manage to deal with shells awaiting labelling and curation and get a backlog of glass and plastic containers tucked into drawers. I play some Bridge with my girls.
On Mothers’ Day I drive to Godalming where I am royally spoilt, having dropped boxes of JMBA with Malcolm and Christine Storey to await collection by Ian Smith. Ryan and Ted are chefs for the day. I get presents and CJ manages to read Girl on a Train in one sitting.
On Monday morning I commence my nannying duties. They run a tight ship, them Perrymans, and there are things to remember each day. Fortunately Demi, the nanny who is on holiday, has drawn up a big flow chart with clouds of information and five sides of exercise book of ancillary notes.
Demi’s crib sheets are extremely helpful and I would have been all at sea without Ted’s timetable and kit requirements day by day. But I am amused that she reminds me that it is a good idea to make some preparations for Ted’s evening meal before I pick him up from school and then get the meal ready during his session on a computer game. It is also useful advice to know that I must remember to clean the food off the sides of the dishwasher door and wipe all kitchen worktops with Multisurface cleaner!
During my week in Godge I have lunch with Vikky and with Charles and Lis, the first at the Thai Roof Garden Restaurant in Guildford and the second in the café at the Watts Gallery. The latter is a good find, the food is delicious and well presented. Meanwhile Nick is in St Vaast with Andrew, the two men having crossed the Channel for a few days in order to bring the timber for the pergola back to England. Andrew experiences the best of French hospitality chez Taille.
My most enjoyable sociable occasion whilst in residence at 88 Pep is spent at Hambledon Farm amongst the best of friends. Charles and Susie have arranged a small supper party with the Charlesworths and Upcotts and Susie’s good friend Cherrie. We are all avid readers so it’s a kind of book group get-together but we cover lots of other topics, not least the forthcoming Referendum which already is threatening to divide the nation.
At the end of my week I drive back to The Old Workshop, take in a game of Bridge with the girls on Friday night, and drive myself to Poole on Saturday morning Cherbourg-bound. Arriving in the afternoon I am then plunged into an extended weekend of feasting chez des amis. Bri and Georgy invite us and the Poulets for supper on Saturday evening when our hostess served us Lapin a la Moutarde. On Sunday, together with Lorraine and Stephen, we are guests of Miguel and Bibi for a Mexican lunch and what fun that was. We ate tortilla chips and guacamole with our apero, and then enjoyed a chicken broth with rice and assorted ‘sambals’ to sprinkle over. So healthy and so delicious. The authentic guacamole would be lovely to eat up as a single course. We have another lunch date on Monday when we are the guests of Dede and Francoise Burnouf, along with the Tailles, and both their neighbouring couples, who we already know from previous events at their house on the quay. Dede cooks a lunch, starting with a tasty dish of ormer (‘fished by Dede from the wests Cotentin) and he follows this with Tripes Normands. In anticipation of a dislike of tripe on the part of Nick and myself, and also Fefe, Dede barbecues some fine magrets de canard on his open hearth. I do taste the tripe but it is a very poor second to pink-cooked duck breast fillets.
During the lunch conversation is very lively and good-humoured. Even when the sub-mariner neighbour of F and F launches into a light critique of the English. I always knew he is an Anglophobe, he has barely been cordial on occasions when we have met chez Taille. He is probably a misogynist to boot. Well, that is his loss 🙂 Shame because his wife is lovely and cooked the best tarte aux pommes I have ever eaten, for our dessert. I even got a doggy bag to bring home. Our hostess, Francoise, is also lovely and I hope to spend more time with her.