Mr B and his brother, Mr H, are in the kitchen debating the best way to cook roast potatoes. I think it may be a form of brotherly bonding.
Both brothers have been told by their respective spouses (that will be my lovely sister-in-law, Val, and me) that they make the very best roast potatoes, having been taught very well by us. Both brothers – they really are as alike as peas in a
pod, as I have told you before – are absolutely determined that the roast potatoes which will accompany a rather fine piece of beef (“That cow did not die in vain!” announces Mr H as they unpack the Tesco’s shop) will be cooked according
to their own special methodology. The only trouble being that they can’t agree on the methodology.
Mr H wants to start with the estimated time at which the
roast beef will emerge from the oven for its resting time and count back to the exact minute when the potatoes need to be blanched. In between, a number of stages too numerous to relate here. It is an admirably scientific approach. Mr B doesn’t
outline his approach in anything like the same detail, appearing to resort to the “Whose oven is it anyway?” stance. From what I can understand, there is a difference of about three minutes cooking time between the two methods. There
is no absolutely no room for another point of view, so I retire upstairs where I have lots to do restoring the bedrooms to normal and making up a bed for Mr H who is staying the night, having forsaken his B&B for the delights of Chez Ball, now that we
can make room for him.
As I plump pillows, move boxes, search for the cover of the cot bed which we borrowed from kind friends and pack children’s toys back
into the wardrobe – I think about just how far our guests travelled to be at Mr B’s party. They came from Devon, from Welshpool, from Cardiff, from Ashford, from Hertfordshire, from Sittingbourne and Newington, from Kingshill, West Malling, from
Hook near Basingstoke, from North Cheam . A quick calculation tells me that our guests, collectively, travelled many, many thousands of miles to help Mr B celebrate his birthday. After which, of course, they had to travel the same distance
back again. I am awed at the thought of it and I am sure Mr B will be, too, when I tell him.
There are still a few clues to the fact that a party happened here.
The enormous birthday banner is still in place above the patio doors – Our Boy who made it says it must stay in place for at least a week. The large golden 70 keeps slipping down which means you have to dodge under it if you want to go out into
the garden. I give it two days before Mr B wants it down which means we will be "discussing" its continued display for a further five days. Also still gracing our lounge is the bunting which was lovingly prepared by the Middle of the Darling
Daughters from copies of charming childhood photographs of Mr B. She made similar bunting for our last big party nearly eight years ago – but on that occasion she cleverly delegated the task of cutting out all the paper flags to the pupils
at her school who had been given a detention. I think the bunting should stay up for a while too, at least until our Nomination Whist Group have had a chance to see it next week.
Over the course of Sunday afternoon, we watch a DVD of family photographs put together by our family at the time of our Ruby Wedding. Mr H is sad that he did not know us in the early days and missed seeing our Foursome growing
up – but we are so, so glad we DID meet and that we are part of each other’s lives now and for the future.
Mr H (the Little Bruv) eventually defers
to Mr B (the Big Bruv) over the roast potatoes, though he does insist on peeling them. Once cooked, they are delicious, as was only to be expected.
Mr H left this
morning on the 11 a.m. train. We had to leave him to cook his own breakfast and make his way to the local railway station as we had a Bowls Committee Meeting at 9.30 a.m. When we returned home, it was to find a note which read: “The world needs lots
of hugs. The Balls are the huggiest people I know.”
Thank you, Mr H. I bet your roast potatoes would have been totally delicious, too.