Tuesday, 5 May 2009

As the fairy dust settles...



This weekend was the stuff that dreams are made of... fine food, fine wine and friends tightly clutched to one's bosom.  So tightly clutched that it made the letting go all the more heart wrenching... 

yet sometimes you have to turn down the gas for fear of spoiling the dish.

This week I will be taking the 'serial' approach to blogging, in view of the vast amount of activities, events and sweet happenings that came about by a gang of food enthusiasts and fanatics getting together in one place, at the same time in a beautiful house in Hereford.

After a flurry of emails and excited chatter, Friday 1st May finally came.  I am still perplexed at just how important a group of newly forged friends and, as Kristen puts it, partners in crime, can be. With no editorial intervention, we all just slid into place with such organic and natural ease . This is a group of people whose paths were meant to cross.  Fate and shared passions have brought us together but it is the love of all things culinary that will continue to act as the glue that will forever bind.  We all decided cooks are givers... they have the need to give, to feed, to please, to show off and anyway being able to cook together is sexy.

I hired a Land Rover Freelander model and was lucky enough to have one on a new number plate with less than 2K miles on the clock, after spending an hour to decide the best way to pack the boot and wasting an hour on an abortive trip to Crichel Mount Bakery due to an earlier horrific accident which resulted in blocked off roads and confusing detour instructions (I reflected and felt guilty that my own quest for pleasure was running alongside someone Else's pain).  Finally, after deciding I couldn't get another food item in, I set off, the 4 x 4 drove like a dream on the traffic free roads all the way to the outskirts of Bath.

After trawling through the traffic mayhem that currently hangs over the town centre in Bath, I arrived 25 minutes late to pick up Kristen and Richard Corrigan's Crab Tart (more of that in another episode).  Kristen was ever patient, ever present with the cultured grooming and social skills of a first lady yet full to the brim oozing a natural warmth and exuberance of a couple of girls about to embark with friends on a jolly weekend adventure.

We finally met up with Sam who managed to track us down and talk us through the twisty turns of the ancient Bath hills as we tailed him to his home, with yet more provisions and bags to pack in. With square wheels (is that possible on an LR? Yes it is) we set off on our Quest with Sam navigating every step of the way, a wonderful job and a luxury too.  An hour later than expected we turned into the driveway to be greeted by the four excited faces of Susan, Pauline, Katie and Adam running towards us and brimming with the childlike enthusiasm of friends arriving for a sleepover, impatient to give us the grand tour wanting to show us the house, which would be home for the next four days.  I probably hugged Adam longer than is decent for a woman of my years but I rest easy in that it was reciprocated and all received the same genuine Bonhomie and loving intentions from a person eternally grateful for any mutual signals of lasting friendship.

Our Susan took the lead, turning her versatile hand to that of real estate sales, weaving in and out of the listed rooms, pointing out original features, climbing the wooden stairs, which incidentally in an instant transported me to my sister's chalet in Switzerland; is it the wood treatment they cake it in or just the fact that it is wood... Eventually they saved the best until last... A Diva's four poster bed, draped in white voile and the wardrobe from Narnia, a fabulous window with a south facing view over the vegetable garden (more to follow) and the orchard beyond, then they proudly announced this was reserved for me!  To be treated with such privilege and greeted by the beaming faces of friends brought a lump to my throat.  Yep... cooks and writers are givers.  They put the L in giving it Large, LOVE!

We congregated in the kitchen, in true Geordie style our Susan had boiled the kettle about five times waiting for us to arrive and a much appreciated steaming hot cup of tea was swiftly followed by rounds of drinks and Jenny and Caro.  Susan and Pauline had set the scene ably assisted by Katie and Adam the party was about to begin.  

Sadly we were two confirmed 'nuts' down, one laid off through an injury sustained whilst trekking across the Arctic on her journalistic journey to interview the Inuits and one due to a last minute commission in Barcelona to design and furnish an interior, no doubt for some rich and famous figure, which shall of course remain nameless.

The music was struck, the table had been laid perfectly, the bar was installed, the provisions poured out along with Kristen's famous Richard Corrigan Crab tart, Pick More Daisies Nut tart and Sam's perfect Chocolate Cake with crystallised violets.  We were to dine like Kings... What seemed like hundreds of t-lights twinkled and sparkled from every conceivable corner as did the twinkle in our eyes: top tip, great for softening wrinkles too, everyone looked forever young!
The night was filled with serious talk of food and wine, not so serious talk of all things stupid and plans made for the following day. A leisurely stroll and lunch in Ludlow... The night merged into morning and after no more alcohol or food could be consumed and as the words became more difficult to decipher, we all retired to bed... to sleep perchance to dream...

2 comments:

Kristen In London said...

you are too kind, my friend... I simply must buckle down and write my own account! It will be a great pleasure to see how our accounts dovetail/differ! I wish you had had your blog when we were at Totleigh, so I could imbibe your impressions...

Foxi Rosie said...

I speak only the truth...