Yesterday Mr B was entertaining a lady friend to lunch while his wife (that'll be me, then) was out. The cad! I hear you exclaim.
Never fear, it was not as it seems. I was not only in on the arrangement, I had actually planned it. I even unlocked the side gate so that Mr B's visitor had easy access, rather than having to ring on the door bell and wait ages while Mr B struggled
to the door to let her in.
These days I don't like to leave Mr B "Home Alone" for too long - but there are some Special Occasions I simply can't bear to miss.
One of these being the celebration of my oldest friend's (as in years known, rather than age specific, you understand) seventieth birthday. Where else would we meet but Bill's in Wimbledon, scene of many a happy gathering over the last four years?
Team Bill's, as we will now call it, generally consists of my friend Pat, her two daughters (the younger of whom is my God-daughter), two of my Darling Daughters (the Middle
one of whom is Pat's God-daughter), and the Trio of Rampaging Rascals. As time and circumstances allow we may be joined by Other Halves and / or Other Offspring. Would it help you to draw a chart, do you think? Oh, and I forgot to mention myself - what an
Yesterday's occasion was organised by the Wonderful Pip, who was so determined that her mother would celebrate in style that she covered the floor
and every surface in her kitchen with gold cake covering and small gold stars in the baking of a truly splendiferous Ferrero Rocher cake. This remarkable concoction was secretly delivered to the restaurant well in advance of our arrival in order to ensure
the Surprise Factor.
Unusually, I was the first to arrive at the restaurant (unless you count the cake but, let's face it, a cake, however splendid, is still an
inanimate object, while I am most definitely not.) I was delighted to be shown to the large table, situated out of the way in a handy corner where we would have the best chance of locking down the Trio - Faris the Rascal and Twinkles, Tala and Lilia - against
terrorist attack on other diners. I requested two high chairs (well, it was worth a try) and settled down to wait for my lunch companions. I didn't have long to wait.
Pip came armed with fishy stickers, a pad of colourful paper, felt tip pens and a dinosaur sticker book. My daughters and I came armed with birthday cards and presents. The Trio came armed with whatever it is that keeps them on the rampage and the rest
of us on our toes.
Such a happy afternoon we had, celebrating this milestone birthday - even though, as I wrote in Pat's card: "We can't both be turning 70 this
year - we're still only 17, aren't we?!" The Trio behaved remarkably well, the restaurant staff were happy and smiley, for all the world as if they were delighted to be allocated our table to serve, the cake was a well-deserved triumph.
Back home I knew another friend, the Amazing Eleanor, was about to join Mr B for lunch. "Just off for my date!" she texted me. Everyone should be so lucky as to have a friend like
Eleanor, willing to step in to keep my fella company - and to cook her lunch and his into the bargain. I knew I could relax and enjoy myself without worrying what might be happening at home.
So it's a heartfelt thank you to Eleanor, Mr B's lunch date, and a Happy 70th Birthday to dear Pat, my long-time friend from way back to our school-days.
Good friends are, indeed, worth keeping.