It was certainly merry. And 97 is definitely old. Of course, England was England, with all its usual quirks.
A religious holiday in Switzerland coincided with my Granny’s 97th birthday this year, so a great opportunity to hop on an early morning plane to see her and join in the festivities. All day long we had an endless stream of visitors, both relatives and friends, which was really lovely – both for Granny to be honoured and for us to meet up with, which is relatively rare. Many many pots and cups of tea were made, my mother’s very successful birthday cake was greedily crumbled and her cinnamon rolls were very popular, too, along with a large batch of fairy cakes… A light lunch of salmon sandwiches, with unexpected but welcome company (we can always stretch to feed a few more!) and a yummy dinner, again, courtesy of my mother, who had spent the day before slaving away in the kitchen – very worthwhile! Prosecco with dinner – Granny enjoyed a glass of bubbly; and wine the next day… 😉 The day after the birthday, we had a lovely drive to an old mill in the countryside near Kidderminster. It’s an hotel and restaurant set in a very quiet and beautiful dip in the landscape and ideal for events like this. As I said, merry…!
A smart and leisurely lunch followed by coffee in the lounge made this a big day out, though the drive through the countryside certainly added to the pleasure. Granny loves to see some greenery and nature – unfortunately everything is so late this year that the bluebells weren’t quite out, which would have been the icing on the cake!
Our Saturday was spent concentrating on the garden. A new mower was required for the back garden, and as the front garden, lovingly tended for 75 years, is going to be paved over, there were a lot of plants to be “rescued” before the diggers arrive! Everything has a story, even the rocks making up the bed edgings, cuttings have been brought from friends’ gardens and trips at home and abroad and Granny’s green fingers have ensured that both gardens have always been a full and pretty riot of colour, despite their petite proportions. In fact, having covered the rear terrace with trays of rescued plants, there still seemed to be most of the front garden in place! However, it will not only be easier for two elderly women to care for (i.e. nil!) but will also provide off-street parking, which is quite a commodity in an area where houses were not built with the idea of cars in the 1930s – the streets are too narrow to leave cars parked there, so most of the front gardens have been sacrificed in this way. Future generations of architects should note, though, how much neighbourliness and community spirit used to be generated by everyone spending time “on the front”, tending their patch and chatting with neighbours and passers-by – sadly lacking now (although in this particular street, many of the inhabitants have been neighbours for 40 or 50 years, so there is a good bond!).
We had to dodge the raindrops, so the rear lawn didn’t get mown, but we did manage to weed between the forget-me-nots and some of the rescued plants will find a place as the summer progresses. Granny’s father made this birdbath, which we hope to inherit one day!
As always, merriness and laughter were predominant over the three days we spent, and I certainly hope we didn’t exhaust Granny – she seemed to be constantly cheerful and repeatedly said she’d had a lovely time. Isn’t it great that we can all do this?!! Till next time! More on http://www.catterel.wordpress.com… 🙂