I thought you might like to hear about the Winter Solstice celebration where we cartwheeled and drank champagne in the sunshine, met marvellously interesting women and said some extremely nice things about one another? A self-indulgent day, filled with my favourite friends, favourite food and memories of mothers and grandmothers whose china and glassware outlived them to celebrate life at its most glorious in 2011!
Living local in the Dargle is easy – We nibbled on solar roasted olives; sweet, crunchy fennel and orange; just picked lettuce; tomatoes dried in the sun and pesto of walnuts and parsley, washed down with more champagne and homemade lemon juice. OK, I’ll admit it – the caper berries were imported from Italy – quelle horreur!
Midlands women can’t resist an opportunity to have their say and so, one after the other, beautiful people stood and shared some magic memories – from friendly welcomes, inspiration for living local and mixing colours, the best vegetarian snacks, unconditional writing, adamant opinions and community contributions. Then it was time to celebrate the pumpkins, harvested from my garden and my friends’. Glistening roasted crescents piled on platters and topped with prune and onion confit. Delicious mopped up with baguette and a great excuse for a glass of organic red.
Kenyan leaf tea and fresh coffee was brewed, served in a colourful mish mash of cups and saucers, with locally-made fennel biscuits and nougat. Conversations were intense, place swopping to grab a snippet of overheard chatter was rampant or simply joining the huddle on the fireplace rug to giggle at pictures of birthdays past.
There were piles of crunchy brown pears, dark red tree tomatoes, bright orange gooseberries and tiny purple figs – grown right next door and picked this week – to munch on as the shadows grew. So soon? Oh of course, it was the shortest day.
As darkness fell, we wrapped up in blankets, opened another bottle and tucked into gooey camembert and a ‘little goat’ with Paul’s red onion marmalade and green figs. Dancing was demanded, the drumming began and the DJ discovered music I didn’t know I had! Of course, there was “Say a little prayer for me”, the theme song from my 40th birthday in Mocambique and “Viva la Vida” – played about a zillion times as usual! Lots from Congo to Cuba and Miriam too….