July is The Husband’s birthday month. Every year, as the appointed day approaches, he is asked what he’d like to do. The answer is usually unsatisfactory to the Cat’s Mother who will find any occasion to make a celebration, even if it is not a milestone birthday. This year, the decision ended up being mostly made for him – and not by the Cat’s Mother!
The Baron rang: “London calling. Are you and The Husband available for lunch on Friday?”
He and the lovely Baroness, neighbours to the Queen, would be in South Africa: a flying visit. Not having seen them since arriving in McGregor, and given who they were, who were we to turn that invitation down?
Work was pressing; Johannesburg-based Friend-and-colleague was booked to arrive for work on a project – the day after the birthday.
“Shouldn’t I come down earlier and we can sort some of the suff out over the weekend?”
“Yes, but you will have to cope with The Husband’s birthday on Sunday.”
“Oh, cool, I can do that!” She’s actually quite fond of The Husband and he’s quite fond of her. All good.
So, from what was to have been a non-event, according to The Husband, we had to a wonderful weekend, celebrating people (mostly him) and places.
A long, delicious lunch with the Baron and Baroness, at Tebaldi’s, during which we were all too preoccupied with years of catching up, to take any pictures, and which ended with just one each, and that taken by one of the staff.
Saturday dawned and The Husband went to fetch Friend-and-colleague from the airport and I did the market, solo. Not a problem, I had thought, but seemingly a problem for some of my fellow stall holders and some patrons. “Where is The Husband?”
“Gone to the airport to fetch Friend-and-colleague…”
“Oh, that’s all right, then.”
The Husband duly returned with Friend-and-colleague in tow. The day moved along with the necessary business addressed; then the birth day dawned. Although Sundays (actually most days, other than high days and holidays) are The Husband’s days to do breakfast, the Cat’s Mother figured that he “deserved” a day off. It was, after all, a high day, if not a holiday.
No hesitation: “Poached eggs on wilted spinach!” Friend-and-colleague was a bit startled, and placed her order. Spinach was duly picked, the rest of the makings prepared and breakfast produced.
Thus the day began, and after a morning of pottering around the house (with a bit of work thrown in), we adjourned to the husband’s chosen spot for a late lunch: Lady Grey Restaurant at Lord’s Guest Lodge. It’s a favourite space – not just for the fine country cuisine and the service, but because of the setting.
As we approached the gate, there was an oncoming car: a pillar box red, convertible VW Beetle – with its top down – heading away from the establishment. I was certain that I recognised the occupants.
I was right: the McGregor Russian Brides. Why were they heading down the hill?
“The gate won’t open! Don’t understand why – they know us here!”
“No problem: we’re expected. Follow us!”
A u-turn executed, the convoy beetled back up the hill and the now-extended-party duly arrived for lunch. In a perfect setting.
Fabulous wine (Lord’s Pinot Noir and Rosé) accompanied brilliant food. Oh, and for the Russian Brides – local craft beer.
The Husband had been waiting for that Eisbein, all week. My venison (Impala) was done to perfection.
The desserts didn’t disappoint, either, particularly the traditional South African Malva Pudding.
The piéece de resistance was our table positioned so that The Husband could see forever.And that was not quite the end of The Husband’s happy birthday: a long afternoon followed, in fabulous company, with good food and wine, in an unimaginably beautiful space.
© Fiona’s Favourites 2015