Saturday, 19 June 2010

Our Revels Now Are Ended

“Be cheerful, sir.
Our revels now are ended.”

The birthday week is over; Beloved and I have a birthday within two days of each other, which makes the whole thing either less of an ordeal or more of a celebration, whichever way you want to look at it.

Firstly, I must make amends. Having slept well for several nights, and having come to terms with ‘hanging yet another year on the line’, I must give the ladies, about whom I was so very rude in my last post, their due.  They gave me a splendid lunch at Mellington Hall, a hotel set in lovely countryside, deep in the Shropshire/Welsh Marches.  Because there were eight of us, gossipy huddles were difficult to arrange, a bonus for me; instead the conversation was good-natured, friendly, and very jolly. I enjoyed myself. There was just one slightly awkward moment when the waiter came in, bearing the tiniest birthday cake with a tiny birthday candle -  and the group burst into a very giggly and unmelodious rendition of “Happy Birthday To You”.

I don’t mind pushing myself into the limelight on occasion, but I hate it when others do it.

We had B’s birthday meal at a Michelin-starred ‘pub-restaurant with rooms’.
(I love that description; it conjures up all kinds of naughty ideas for me. Do you avail yourself of ‘the rooms’ before or after the meal, or possibly spend the night?) However, The Stagg Inn is a very proper establishment, with glorious food, served unobtrusively and efficiently and not a frilly pink shell-folded napkin in sight. At the next table sat a middle-aged couple, who obviously didn’t officially belong together; they were much too lively, talkative and amused with each other to have a high mileage behind them.
When they arrived, they made a great fuss over a warning on the menu that certain items would require a lengthy cooking time. It’s what happens with freshly cooked dishes; food slammed into the microwave straight from the freezer comes more quickly. However, Mrs. Naughty then went into the bar where she stayed for ages. Her ‘partner’ eventually went to fetch her; not in the least embarrassed, she exclaimed loudly: “ I was looking at the bar menu and got talking to some delightful people there.” Only then did they study the restaurant menu and order.

You might think, this Friko person is a busybody, sticking her nose in where it has no business to be, watching and recording; you might be right – how else am I going to get blogging material on a slow day.

Yesterday, three charming bloggers and I met at a North Shropshire Garden.
Wollerton Old Hall Gardens are small but ‘perfectly formed’, with formal and informal garden rooms divided from each other by hedges, walls and pergolas.
The planting is very attractive, with colour co-ordinated rooms, some pale and monochrome and others bright and colourful. I particularly liked some beautiful trees, which had obviously been in situ long before the current gardens were established.

Sadly, it rained for part of the visit. We spent the dry part in the coffee shop, only venturing out after the rain had started, which made it all very eccentric. During the worst of the rain, we took shelter in a lovely little summer pavilion with a swagged roof like a baldachin. Having met before, and all four being keen gardeners, there was none of that initial awkwardness; speaking purely for myself, I enjoyed the trip.

I hope the others did too.

PS: I did not bake the delicious birthday cake shown in the first picture; The village cake baker made it for us.


  1. A week of beauty and friendship. Not bad.

  2. So glad you're feeling more cheerful! Your garden outing sounds lovely -- beautiful pictures! And the pub-restaurant with rooms -- surely it should have been The Shagg Inn.

  3. Birthdays, gardens and gardeners. A lovely way to spend the week.

  4. I love the greens! Glad it turned out OK for you! Beautiful times for those memory albums.

  5. It's funny, looking at the beauty of far-away places, I tend to forget the beauty here at home. I've just got to get better with a camera.

  6. You're right - listening to and watching other people at restaurants and pubs is always so interesting. People are weird. Or ... are they also thinking that about us?

  7. That cake looks nice - like pressed rolled fondant. I'm glad you had a nice time ( and sorry you had a bad night a couple of nights ago). Birthdays are weird. I don't (go out of my way to) celebrate mine at all.

  8. Another brilliant blog - Friko. Glad the sun's come out again. I'm a bit of a sucker for overheard conversations myself. You're quite right - how else do we write! Glad you enjoyed your day

  9. Oh ich bin zu spät für den Kuchen und für die pünktlichen Glückwünsche, aber nichts desto trotz alles nur erdenklich Liebe und Gute, Energie, Gesundheit und viele tolle Ideen für Dein neues Lebensjahr liebe Friko!!!!!!!!!!!

    das sind traumhafte Bilder hier in diesem Post, dieser Garten ist zum dahinschmelzen schön - zu schade, dass es regnete, aber dafür blüht und grünt es bei diesem S....wetter ja besonders schön.

    Ich war auch viel unterwegs, deshalb habe ich so lange hier nicht reingeschaut, bei uns ist zur Zeit Besuchswelle und noch kein Ende in Sicht und dann noch meine Buchsschneideorgie - so schön es hinterher aussieht, ein paar Heinzelmännchen kämen mir da sehr gelegen.

    aber Jammern hilft nicht ...

    einen wunderbaren Sonntag für Dich,

  10. Those lovely English gardens are making me drool! Glad you survived the ordeal/celebration unscathed! And we have to listen in to other people's conversations. Otherwise they might think they were uninteresting and get their feelings hurt! Besides, we'd have so much less to giggle and write about.....

  11. Such good times in such incredible surroundings! Why not revel some more?

  12. Oh yes, birthday week. We had that here two as our kids were born 3 days apart (well, actually 2 years and three days apart). I was always glad to see it over.

    I would love to see those gardens.

  13. A Happy Birthday for you two. Of great joy to see such peacefilled photography of your environment. Rain - liquide sunshine.

    daily athens

  14. Friko, I type immediately that I knew that you did not bake that cake.

    My Gemini brother's birthday is tomorrow. We spoke today and will speak again tomorrow. I wish you a lovely midsummer night in just a little while.

    Happy birthday to you and to yours.

    I admire your observational talent, and what you deduced from the couple dining near you all.

    I envy you the rainy day in the garden with friends. No...wait, I just had a wonderful day in a wonderful garden with friends myself. Let me remember my own joy.

    And, let me admire the many shades of green that appear in your posted photo.


  15. Hmmm, something cropped my message, but I trust you will be able to decode it.


  16. What a difference a day makes
    what a difference a sleep makes
    what a difference friends make

    Happy days

  17. It's always that way for me...the events that I dread always turn out to be fun and worthwhile. You know, of course, that it's the embarrassment factor that makes people order birthday desserts and sing.

    WHAT A PLACE is Mellington Hall! I think I would want to hide somewhere and roam around when everybody had left, imagining myself one of the original residents.

  18. You see like many thins sometimes birthdays are worse in anticipation than reality! Our village baker used to do birthday cakes like that, pink for girls blue for boys , soemthing which I had forgotten until I saw yours!

  19. Deine Posts zu lesen, ist ein wahrer Genuss, liebe Ursula. Deine Sprache ist so schön und lebendig, dass man fast schon glaubt, man hätte all die Ereignisse miterlebt. So fantastisch auch das Hotel "Mellington Hall" und welch wunderbare Stimmung und Schönheit auch auf den anderen Bildern. Und der Regen konnte dem gar nichts anhaben (oft ist er ja auch reinigend und das sieht und spürt man gar so oft).
    Ich finde nicht, dass Du irgendwelche Bedenken wegen der "old ladys" haben solltest. Du hast nicht böse gesprochen, sondern einfach nur das gesagt, was Du auch empfindest und diese Ehrlichkeit ist nicht leicht, denn die Dinge immer zu verschönern ist nicht Sinn der Sache. Das Blog soll ja kein Märchen sein. Die Ladys hatten sicher den friedlichen Abend sehr genossen. Uebrigens hasse ich es auch, wenn man im Mittelpunkt steht und sich ein schreckliches "Happy Birthday" anhören muss. Nur ich bin nicht so geduldig wie Du. Ich sage dann: Bitte hört auf, verschont mich...!
    Ein wunderschöne Gegend, dort, wo Du wohnst!
    Bis bald und alles Gute!

  20. A spot of 'people watching', fine food and time spent in good company. Sounds good to me.

  21. That birthday cake torture ? Smitonius and partner did that to me , in an East End fish cafe . Scars one for life !!

  22. ER - Not bad at all, I must stop moaning.

    Vicki - Oops, Vicki, Now Now, as they say in proper circles round here.

    Freda - True, it was a pleasant week.

    Jenn - They do gardens rather well in England, I love visiting them.

    marciamayo - good idea, show us where you live. and don't forget to look and appreciate. I have only looked at the scenery properly again since I've started to take pictures.

    Fran - Funny, I knew you'd agree. I wonder why?

    Mark - it is pressed rolled fondant, it's called soft icing here. I only bought it because I was bringing the ladies home to tea.

    mollygolver - another nosey parker, I'm happy to see.

  23. veredit - danke fuer die guten Wuensche, zum Geburtstag als auch sonstige. Dann schneid' mal feste weiter. Hilft dir denn keiner deiner Besucher? So ganz ohne Gegenhilfe kaemen die bei mir nicht weg.

    Molly - thanks Molly, and I'm glad you agree that listening in is only a bit bad, not really seriously bad manners at all. Otherwise I might have to pretend that I don't do that sort of thing.

    Bonnie - I might at that, I don't suppose Prospero gave up all revels, except temporarily.

    ellen abbott - Beloved's son and his wife are also born within days of my birthday; as they live in the US we rarely get together. Wouldn't that be a party. Maybe not.

    Robert - thanks for taking the time to visit. A good and productive week to come is my wish for you.

    Frances - I don't see any cropping of your comment, for which many thanks - the comment - . You know the bloggers I met, charming ladies they are. Perhaps we could take you to this wonderful, green garden some time.

    Delwyn - got it in three!. Happy Days!

  24. June - Noooo, you got that quite wrong. That wonderful building is actually a Victorian monstrosity! There's nothing genuine about it, except what the Victorians thought of as 'baronial'.
    Wollerton Old Hall, now that IS genuine.

    her @ home - the remains of the cake are still with us, sitting in the larder, getting stale. Benno is getting most of the fondant icing - in small quantities. BC is not really my favourite.

    Renee - Es ist wirklich sehr schoen hier und englische Gaerten sind eben auch besonderer Art.
    Ich haette die freundlichen ladies wirklich nicht kraenken wollen, dazu sind sie zu freundlich und grosszuegig. Bloss, langweilig sind sie eben auch. Trotzdem war das Treffen kein Reinfall. Mein Missmut hat sich dann gegeben.

    Martin H - Not a bad week, all in all, once I stopped moaning.

    Smitonius and Sonata - And you are still on joint blogging terms?
    You must have a very generous and forgiving nature.

  25. Mit Erleichterung lese ich, dass es dir besser geht und du schöne Tage in dieser einmaliger Landschaft geniessen konntest.
    Danke für die wunderschönen Bilder.
    Ich kann es nicht lassen… dir ein riesiges Kompliment für deinen Seelenstriptease auszusprechen. Es ist nicht einfach, seine Schwächen zu zeigen und in einem Cyberspace zu posten. Eben, später muss man sich dann quasi dafür rechtfertigen.
    Aber Kuchen hin oder her, geniesse wieder die süsse Seite des Lebens.
    Hast du meine rosigen Grüsse bekommen?

    Ganz, ganz liebe Grüsse

  26. What a week of celebrations you must have had - cake, bubbly, garden excursion and dinner. I enjoyed your people-watching people-watching and story-making, myself!

  27. I've now started this comment four times and deleted three of them. All to do with getting a bad review after lunching with you. If it ever happens I'll have to be on my worst behaviour to get into your good books. N'est-ce pas, Friko???

    Nice little image of the restaurant with rooms. I think you're pretty naughty yourself, actually. Happy birthday to your Beloved also - very good planning that you landed with somebody you could celebrate with. Are you both of the same vintage too?

  28. Pondside - Good, all the best people watch other people; how else would public morals be safeguarded? btw, you know (of) the other three garden visitors. We had a lovely time.

    Deborah - I can't be doing with bores, Deb, so yes, a little naughtiness might be nice.
    B is of well-matured vintage, I have to have a decade or more in the cellars before I reach his priceless quality. Let's hope he doesn't turn sour on me.

  29. It sounded like a nice lunch with good food. Pictures are lovely and the garden enchanting.


Comments are good, I like to know what you think of my posts. I know you'll keep it civil.