We sit out in the back garden, sipping wine and pretending that it is just a bit warmer than it actually is. The sun, after all, is making a great effort on our behalf and the least we can do is enjoy it. From the kitchen
wafts the unmistakable smell of roast lamb.
When young colleagues at work used to bewail the fact that they had to cook a roast dinner with all the trimmings for their in-laws (or, possibly more stressful,
their prospective in-laws) I used to reassure them that, compared with all the exciting meals they were in the habit of cooking up for their Nearest and Dearest without so much as turning a hair, the traditional roast was a Complete Doddle.
I think of that now, sitting and chatting while keeping one weather eye on my watch so that I don't forget exactly when to par-boil the potatoes, when to put them in to roast, nestling snugly round my Truly Splendid Leg of
Lamb, when to turn them over, when to put the Yorkshire puddings in to cook, when to boil the vegetables, when to make the gravy...Put like that, it sounds rather more complicated than it is.
like a traditional British meal. Fortunately the fellow members of our Meals and Wheels Club (so called because we take it in turns to provide the lunch, while the other couple does the travelling) also like their meals tasty but not necessarily, well, fancy.
I remember taking my dear Mum to visit a rest home in our town to see if she thought it felt like home. The proprietor, presumably hoping to impress me, launched into a detailed description of a typical week's meals
- lasagne, moussaka, you get my drift, I'm sure. "I like good, plain, British food!" my Mum declared stoutly, bless her. Funny how some people become more outspoken when they reach a Great Age. I love the story of my Mum visiting a gift shop in Wales and being
horrified by the tea towels bearing the message: " Keep Wales Tidy - throw your rubbish in England." My sweet, mild-mannered mother went all round the shop turning the tea-towels round so that nobody could read the scurrilous message.
Out in the garden, the tamarisk tree is just starting to turn a hazy pink. By the time of our Golden Wedding Afternoon Tea party it should be at its most beautiful. Meanwhile our lilac tree, after only nine days in our garden, seems
to be making itself well at home, sprouting merrily. Ian tells us that he has built a fruit cage of quite tremendous proportions in their back garden. Raspberries will doubtless be on the agenda at a future Meals and Wheels meeting. Sallie is preparing for
a Wild West birthday party on Saturday which sounds like tremendous fun as well as a lot of hard work. If anyone can pull it off, it's my friend, Sal. Mr B says maybe we should buy ourselves a greenhouse? I do like Conversations of a Random Nature.
Yes, the lunch went well, thank you. Everyone seemed to enjoy it. I noticed that Mr B, who had raised a quizzical eye-brow at my idea of cooking Yorkshire puddings on the basis that these delicacies generally accompany
roast beef, rather than lamb, still managed to help himself to three of them. Not that I was counting, you understand.
We took our coffee back into the garden to finish our meal once more in the Great Outdoors.
Next time the Meals and Wheels Club meets at ours, we may even be able to have the whole meal outside. I have a couple of months to think about what I should cook next time around.
It will almost certainly
be nothing particularly adventurous, just good, plain, old-fashioned British food.
My dear Mum would approve.