Monday, April 14, 2008

Sunday lunch at Mount Martha

So. There we all were. Awake bright and early. Pottering about. Even Stella was up and organised. Tony had taken the pork out of it plastic bag and put it in the oven. Stella took the pork out of the oven, put it in a new oven bag and put it back in the oven. Seemed a bit early to me, but there you go. By about 10:30 Lindsey had prepped all the veg, the kitchen smelled beautifully of roast pork and roast chicken, we had had breakfast, cleared up, showered and got dressed. Even the twiglets, chips and dips were out.

In short, we were ready.

About three hours early!

We waited. And waited. And waited. And ate the twiglets. And nibbled on the veg. And waited.

Eventually, Simon turned up with Yvette and Jacob. Bethan had cleverly managed to be away at a school camp - despite the fact that I had announced my intention of being in Mount Martha for Sunday lunch on the 13th of March back in September! Yvette has grown! She is at least as tall as me and possibly even a bit taller.

Next to roll in were Matthew, Belinda, Sage and William. William has recently turned three. He trundled in. Stopped. Looked at The Builder and me and demanded to know who we were. They’re part of the family, he was told. No they’re not, he asserted. Yes, yes. This is your Auntie Frannie and your Uncle Jim. No they’re not, he stated firmly. Yes, yes, they are. Oh no they’re not. Sage was watching all this with a cautious interest. Stella intervened. You know how Sage is your sister? William acknowledged that Sage is, indeed, his sister. Well Frannie is your daddy’s sister, just like Sage is yours. No, no, no no, no, no, NO, said William. They’re *old* people. Much too old to be somebody’s sister.

So that’s me told. Out of the family. Disinherited. Dispossessed. By a three year old :-(

Happily, he was persuaded to allow us to stay for the party. Just as well, really. We’ve come a long way for this lunch!

We hit the twiglets, chips and dips.

Then we were invaded by an advancing army! Emily had driven down with a crowd load of people and they were moving purposefully down the road towards our lunch table. Ian and Ant and Christian and Wendy, together with Emily and accompanied by Jacob who had gone out to investigate. They breached the moat, ignored the defences and moved with deliberation towards the lunch table. But were diverted by the nibbles, beer and wine dotted about the place.

It was very noisy!

Eventually, we all sat down for lunch. The Kids’ table now is mostly made up of adults, although it just manages to earn the epithet by virtue of Jacob, Sage and William being seated at it. We were 17 in total. We had roast pork and roast chicken and roast potatoes with lots of vegetables and salad. Was all very good (though I still think that whoever it was who invented the microwave oven should have been drowned at birth to prevent outrageous offences against vegetables) We had a moderately reasonable quantity of wine. We had a magnificent apple and plum crumble made by Belinda. I had my very own, which I shared with The Builder. For Belinda puts coconut in her crumble mix, which I can’t eat and The Builder won’t eat. Wendy dished up. Carefully measured each portion. Cleaned the bowl right away. Then we discovered that she had forgotten Lindsey!

Then we all cleared up and sat about watching the Blue Dog on the television, or football final repeats on the other television, or sitting about and chatting and catching up.

Then everyone went away and a strange, eerie silence fell upon the house. Lindsey, Tony and I went for a walk. The Builder and Stella stayed behind. And then we sat in front of the telly - and I promptly went to sleep. And then went to bed. And then woke up enough to ask if The Builder had rung his mother before the internet had been put to bed. He had intended to ring her at 7am on Monday in the mistaken apprehension that that would be 4pm on Sunday. Actually, it would have been 10pm and perhaps a bit on the late side He rang her on his mobile!

We didn’t get up quite so early today. Closer to 7:30. Much better. We had breakfast and cleaned - well, Lindsey cleaned - the house after yesterday’s party then Ton went to golf and Stella, Lindsey, The Builder and I went shopping in Mornington. We had a much more successful time than on Saturday. At least, Lindsey and Stella did. They were clothes shopping. The Builder and I mooched about other shops while we were waiting. This was a disaster from the point of view of my wallet :-( We did, however, replenish my knicker and bra collection in Target. Then we went back to Mount Martha and raided the bakery.

You can’t really get party pies in England. You can, of course, get small frozen pies but they’re not the same. I have been trying to master the art of ex-pat party pie baking and have now got to the point where a taste test was necessary. We couldn’t of course just have a party pie for lunch, so we bought one PP and shepherds pies for Lindsey and me, a sausage roll for Stella and a steak and kidney pie for The Builder. Oh, and some salad as a nod to health and well being. We also bought a sticky bun. The Builder and I taste tested the party pie. I don’t think my version needs very much alteration, if any at all. Now all I need to remember is what I did last time at home!

We went back to Stella and Tony’s place to find the last leg impeded by a concrete churning truck blocking the road. But eventually we made it back to the house and to our pies and salad lunch. Stella ate the almond cake she had bought for dessert. We decided to take the sticky bun back to Melbourne with us - our pies and salad had made us quite full. We packed the car, got ourselves ready and leaped into Lindsey’s car ready to head back to town. The concrete mixing truck was well and truly in the way. We waited. We waited. We waitedandwaitedandwaitedandwaited. Eventually, a foreman or site manager or someone came and said we should drive through the construction site - carefully! - or we’d never get out. So we did. Slowly. And careflly. We had just got onto the highway when Stella rang to say we had left behind the sticky bun :-S We decided not to try and get back in. We might never have got back out again The sticky bun has been left to its fate. We shall buy another one.

We came back via the Chadstone shopping complex, brought the stuff up, sorted ourselves out and then went for a late afternoon constitutional.

We went on a Ferris wheel!!!!!!!!!!!!!! There’s a big one down by the Yarra. There’s a photo of it in the Melbourne album. It’s very big and has fantastic views. It went round and round and round and round and round and round. I don’t think Lindsey enjoyed it very much - she kept muttering about being hijacked by a Ferris wheel operator! I enjoyed it very much indeed. It’s by the tubular bells and they started chiming and playing at 5:00 while we were going around. It was great.

We’re off shortly to have pizza with Julia, Ant and Emily. Excellent
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