A country lunch and Sweeney Todd

We had a lovely day yesterday, a family day. Mum was born in Cambridge and her mother was one of 14 children. So there are relations everywhere. We went to a celebration lunch for Sir James Wallace. He was knighted recently for contribution to business and the arts. His late mother, Lindsay, and Mum were first cousins.

Interestingly, Mum wore her cousin’s wedding dress when she married Dad in 1944. Obviously it was war-time and Mum was in the Air Force so she wasn’t home to do all the wedding preparations. The night before the wedding she had two dresses to try on, both from cousins, and she chose Lindsay’s. It was an ivory silk, sort of Grecian drape and I have always thought it looked sensational. Mum was 5 foot 9 inches and slim and it clung to her. Yesterday I saw a photo of someone else wearing it, Lindsay. And Mum and my Aunt, Laura, were her bridesmaids. Her daughter, Dawn, has the dress in her glory box and she is going to bring it round one day so I can see it. Yippee.

Anyway, there were about 50 people,  it was pot luck and the food was superb as it always is at those things. It struck me how much the kind of food we bring to pot luck lunches has changed though. I remember Mum saying that Dad’s family came from Auckland for their wedding, which was on the farm and it was the middle of the war and everything was rationed. The spread was a huge hit, meat and things made with fresh eggs and butter and milk.

Forty years ago would we have sat down to the type of food on offer yesterday? Marinated peppers, chilli con carne, pasta salad with sundried tomatoes and feta, tabouleh, kumera and raisin salad, grated red cabbage coleslaw etc. Of course there was the usual asparagus rolls, meatballs, a dressed ham, corned beef, boiled new potatoes etc.  And the most divine lemon cheesecake, brownies, ginger crunch, three chocolate cakes…feeling hungry yet?

There were also some lovely speeches. I loved the comment about my Gran, who died three months off her 100th birthday, and who apparently, as a child, used to ride standing up on a horse as fast as she could. There was a group at Leamington Primary school who were called the ‘rough riders’, bareback riders, and they were all boys, apart from my Gran.

One of the points that was very well made about Sir James was his contribution to the arts. He is a most generous philanthropist to music and visual arts. He helps so many people and organisations to do their best work and to add to the collective creative genius of this remarkable country of ours.

So at the end of a nearly five hour lunch party we didn’t have the energy to go to a public fireworks display. There were a few muffled bangs and booms around the neighbourhood, nothing worrying and Chloe didn’t even twitch an ear as she lay all over my chest, with her tail flicking my mouth, sound asleep.

On another good note, probably a low C as the tessitura is low I understand, Sweeney Todd has announced a transfer into the Adelphi Theatre from March next year for a 26 week run. Fantastic and well deserved. The amazing thing about the talented Mr Ball is the harder he works and the more determined he is to display his remarkable acting and singing “chops”, the luckier he gets (wink). I hear Lawrence calling again, and if you know anything about drama and musicals on the West End stage, you will understand that comment.

Today I have some newspaper reading to catch up on, Saturday and Sunday papers are always three times larger and more interesting than the rest of the week, and I shall go back to the novel and see what I can do about rescuing Vinnie from a vat of must. He’s been in it for some time as I have had a busy week and he may well be quite intoxicated by now.


5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Mcv Egan
    Nov 06, 2011 @ 10:00:53

    I love it! It transported me to the wedding in the 1940s, it took me through the journey of how international food has become everywhere! Thanks for sharing!!!


  2. Mcv Egan
    Nov 06, 2011 @ 10:15:28

    I enjoyed it so much that I posted it on facebook and twitter. 🙂


  3. jmt4159
    Nov 06, 2011 @ 10:28:43

    Thanks Catalina
    I have quite an interesting family when I think about them and it was a lovely day yesterday, so many memories. One 92 yr old was a real hoot. Their comments should be recorded and kept.


  4. mchristineweber
    Nov 07, 2011 @ 06:14:27

    What a lovely family day and what a lovely family! I enjoy history and hearing about times lived before mine. Thanks for sharing about yours ;-).

    I’m a new follower of your blog–came over from Book Blogs :-). Nice to meet you.



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