Monday, 28 October 2013

First Things First

“Have you lost interest in blogging? “
Beloved seemed a little concerned.

“No, why?”
Beloved has noticed that I spend more time downstairs than in my study. The busy time is done and I could get stuck in again. The problem is, where do I start? What is conceivably of interest to anyone but us?

“Well, you could start with food,” he said.
Trust him. He is thin to the point of emaciation in spite of a good appetite.

So, let’s start with food.

First, a supper party. A good friend had returned from five weeks’ exploration of the environmental impact of hydro-electric plants on the Tapajos river in Brazil and it was time to catch up. I thought it might be nice to invite another good friend whom I owed several meals. (not that we keep track - well,  ok then, I do, just a bit) It was all a bit last minute, but unplanned parties are usually the best. At 11 pm two nights before the supper party Andrew rang.

“Thank you for the invitation. I’d really love to come, but I have two guests staying.”
“What a pity, another time.”
“Well, we could all come. Think about it. It would be brilliant, just for the conversation. I’d bring the food for me and my guests, who are lovely people. You’ll love them."

I was rather taken aback. Andrew seemed merry and very enthusiastic; in the background I could hear sounds of conviviality.

“Think about it”, he repeated, “you won’t have to do a thing. I’ll bring lots of food and wine.”

I was beginning to feel flattered. Andrew has been something of a grand personage in the past and isn’t exactly a nobody now. That he should be so keen to come to a humble supper chez Friko . . . . . .
I do a lot for a bit of flattery.

I made up my mind. I’d rearrange the position of the table, and add an extra leaf, to seat more than six. I’d buy the peripheral courses and do a simple main course. It could be done without great effort.

The next morning my in-tray pinged.

“Abject apologies. I should never have imposed on you. I phoned you on the spur of the moment after a very bibulous meal. (Who’d have guessed?) Of course we won’t crash your party; could you and J. come to me  for drinks before dinner on Sunday, instead?”

I persuaded Andrew that it was all settled, that I’d consulted the other two supper guests, that the food was taken care of and that he should present himself and his guests at seven the next night. Which he did, laden with three bottles of wine, a large cool box and his house guests, two delightful South Africans. Many hours later they went home with the cool box incl. contents, but minus the wine, which had joined further bottles provided by Beloved and the original guests.

It was a great evening and now Andrew owes me big-time.


Autumn is nowhere near our birthdays but Jay, another friend, decided that she wanted to take us out for a very belated birthday lunch. Pub meals are carb-heavy, just the kind of meal suited for a wet, cool Sunday in late autumn.

This is a plate of roast beef, with roast potatoes
and vegetables, as well as a giant 
Yorkshire pudding. Millie had lots of leavings in a doggy bag.

The Lion in Leintwardine is a very attractive pub with rooms, a restaurant and bars, and sits smack on the banks of the river Teme. The pub garden runs down to the river and they even have fishing.

Leintwardine is a large village in north Herefordshire, close to the border with Shropshire, with origins in Roman times; it has been inhabited ever since and was mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086.


  1. Lovely! I enjoyed hearing about your dinner guests and the arrangements. What a fine group of friends you've got! I always enjoy your impromptu posts. More, please (filling glass). :-)

  2. You had me at giant Yorkshire pudding :)

  3. I too enjoyed your post. Have to admit it reminded me a bit of 'English television' which I love watching. The Lion looks like a wonderful place. I wasn't too sure what that was on the plate with the meat and potatoes, but it must be the Yorkshire pudding (something like a giant dumpling?).

  4. Really amazing that I had posted about food (which is rarely a topic on my blog) this day. Both genius ideas ... don't you think? Mine is not nearly as entertaining as yours, of course, but maybe next time.

  5. This hermit much enjoyed your account of normal human socializing. Seems you are quite good at it!
    I love musing on such facts as that someone I know, lives (and shoots photos) in a place inhabited since the Domesday book was cutting edge hi tech! You are a delight. Glad I have sunshine on offer!

    ALOHA from Honolulu
    Comfort Spiral

  6. That did sound fun!
    I doubt that the cool box would have gone back as full as when it had arrived given the gannet like nature of most of our friends....and ourselves.

  7. I'm trying to think how I can flatter you to get in your good favor! I think that parties that aren't over-planned and over-fussed are the best. Your photos of the inns and pubs always look so charming - I want to visit. (I'd bring wine.)

  8. I love those impromptus, always the best. And pub-grub, adore.


  9. Impromptu gatherings are great, you were right to go with the flow!
    I like the look of that Lion pub, as I also like the look of your roast lunch. Yum!

  10. What a nice meal with great guests! The wine sounds good too. But my favorite is the Yorkshire Pudding – I have not had a piece since I went to England … in 2002, so it has been too long!

  11. Sounds like a fine evening! And now I feel a need to make Yorkshire pudding -- it's being able to afford the roast to provide the drippings that is the difficult part.

  12. Impromptu dinner parties are fun and tend to have more lively conversation. Your guests sound intriguing and what a delight to have new people included in the mix.

    I used to do weekly " come on over with a bottle of wine" dinners. That was when I worked and had little time to get things together. Now I am home, have a lot of time, and do spontaneous dinners less often. We tend to meet our friends at restaurants now, but it isn't as much fun.

  13. Evenings like you described, with unknown guests, can be delightful or deadly boring. I'm so glad yours was the former.
    Yorkshire pudding - so delicious!
    Food is always a great topic for a blog post, especially when combined with a story like you've told.

  14. i am all about pub food...ha...actually i am dieting (ok, so really just trying to get into better shape) and your talk of a dinner party is not helping in the least though it sounds fun...smiles...

  15. Both your supper and your lunch sounded WONDERFUL, and made me wonder (a little) whether I really need to be quite so much of a hermit.

  16. Most of the time, I would love having impromptu parties with unexpected guests, but I must admit I wasn't too happy when, for one of my cocktail parties, my Mum announced that she was going to bring my aunt and uncle along because they had decided to come visiting at rather short notice and she could not very well leave them on their own (couldn't she?). Not that I don't like them particularly (sorry - they are my aunt and uncle, but I really don't like my uncle all that much), but my uncle is an alcoholic with several unsuccessful rehabs under his belt, and this was, after all, a cocktail party... He did behave himself, but I made sure he was never alone in the kitchen which kept me on my toes all evening, instead of really enjoying the party.
    Your dinner party does indeed sound delightful, and so does the pub lunch!

  17. eten is ook heel belangrijk en vooral met vrienden erbij is het haast een onbetaalbare aangelegenheid.

  18. Impromptu party with unexpected guests - Well, doesn't that just beat the heck out of a brick wall ( Maritime saying) I think it is lovely when people just show up out of the blue - I can always find something to hash together for a meal - that's why I have a freezer n deep freeze. I love surprises - like yesterday just before supper. A young man I have known since a young boy came home from out West - he was flying back the next morning, but took a chance we would be home and "dropped by" - unexpected, but for the next 2 1/2 hrs he entertained us with his tales of his new job, friends, etc. I thought to myself - this young man respectfully stopped in to see me, he thought about me and wanted to see me before he left - how special does that make this senior citizen feel - pretty darn special. Your dear friends must love you both very much to come by and share such togetherness and also meet new people.
    I cannot see how you might never have anything to blog about Friko - you live in a land I know little of and you have introduced me to it bit by bit - for that I am most grateful and I hope you will continue - your life is so different from mine and there is still lots to learn from each other - I consider you a pen pal of sorts, a historian, a story teller, a poet, a marvelous writer.....and its just all round wonderful to read your posts, whether its story telling time or the gardener, or a local view or something as nice as that meal photo above that I could easily eat. Have a wonderful day - I am raking leaves today and ready for Halloween. Cheers for now - Lilly

  19. A pick-up party is often the best kind. The Lion sounds charming. A hydroelectric dam...electricity for all, but sometimes some environmentalists don't like, although its clean energy. I'll bet I could have a nice argument with this fellow. Dianne

  20. I think I should love to come to one of your dinners. (I keep track, too, so you'd be invited back!) It sounds like the most convivial evening with good conversations and good times. And I'd aso love to join you at the Lion, which looks delightful and delicious (although that's one of the larger lunches I have ever seen! Makes my sandwich and cup of soup I had out yesterday look downright puny!).

    I send good wishes and hope that you and your town managed to survive the big storm sweeping through all or part of the UK. We've seen quite a bit of news coverage on it, and it looks pretty terrible. I hope it "blew by" you.

    And about your blogging -- well, I know everyone has their prolific blogging times and those less so But I have to say that each time I visit I step into your world, which I really love doing. I love your real-life characters -- you and Beloved and Gardener and all the others. I love it when you hit the theatre and when you go to the pub. I love the photos you share and the stories you weave. So if you ever worry about running out of things to write about (and we all do), just look outside your window or inside your heart and you'll find plenty of material!

  21. Impromptu dinner parties are the best! Especially as I get older -- just the planning can get me down now. Your evening sounds like a lovely and memorable occasion. It also reminds me that I need to have one -- if only I could gather up the energy and some enthusiasm!

  22. It's fine to spend time with new guests, Friko, chatting and having some bottles of wine. Looking at this plate with pub meal I feel I won't be able to eat all, happy Millie!

  23. Now THAT is a true English pub meal. You won't be able to eat for a week. Thanks for the adventure of back and forth!

  24. The best parties are last-minute affairs ... they're usually much more relaxed , and this sounds just right .
    . You're obviously much less nosy than me , though , I'd have had to examine the coolbox contents .

  25. Sounds like a great friend. Forgive my ignorance but would Leintwardine be considered part of Wales?

  26. Oh I just remembered that I have been to the Lion in Leintwardine too. It was very nice then - I went in summer

  27. That sounds like the best kind of dinner party, Friko, spur of the moment with a great deal of enjoyable conversation and wine as well as lovely food. The Lion at Leintwardine looks very attractive, if DH and I ever went out for Sunday lunch. :-)

  28. The older I get the more unplanned I like life to be. If planning kicks in I'm likely to start stressing and that must be avoided at all costs. Your impromptu dinner sounds first rate to me.

  29. The way your dinner party turned out sounds like it was meant to be. I love when plans take a turn and yet turn out great.

  30. I enjoyed your food post! And I wish I'd been there to share that meal!!


  31. I love it when at first you resist an idea only to give in and find that it worked out fantastically. Wish I could have been there. Come to think of it, I had a pretty fantastic weekend myself. But, back to the original question... are you bored with blogging? It's a question we have discussed before and I believe for the first time, I am. Or maybe I'm just too busy to take the time. Hope it's the latter.

  32. Dear Friko, I suspect that most of us who blog have times--some short, some long--when we wonder what's left to say. There are also times, at least for me, when I find myself reluctant to sit down at the computer and read the postings of other bloggers, despite the fact that I know that once I start reading, I'll be absorbed by these postings.

    Sometimes I just want a week or two or three to feel totally free of all obligations and responsibilities. I want to immerse myself in reading for instance. And so I do. I seem to take more time away from blogging than most of the bloggers I follow do. But I find that writing my on-line memoir often leaves me drained. The trying to probe my memory and wondering how faulty that memory is and trying to craft a story in less than 600 words--a task I set for myself at the beginning, back in 2011--takes time and energy that I sometimes don't have.

    So I applaud you for taking time off when you need a respite. When you have something to say, as you did today about the serendipity of inviting friends and the surprise at what happened, then you write. Otherwise you spend your days doing what contents you. And that ends my monologue! Peace.

  33. I am finally returning to the land of blogs, and have so enjoyed getting caught up with yours, Friko. Of course, I also have left you a message on your post about your name day. Oh what a treat to have shared that day with you.

    Maybe next time I'll get to see looks promising. Particularly if you were to be there. xo

  34. Sounds a great get-together. Three bottles of wine! That was very civil of them - what a night!

  35. What fun! And you didn't even have to cook! :)

  36. Hi Friko - I imagine dinner chez Friko and Beloved would be particularly tasty and good ... sounds lots of fun - no shyness around Herefordshire/Shropshire border ...

    My tummy is rumbling ... hate it when it's cooling down and dark .. tummy rumbling gets earlier !!... cheers Hilary


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