Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Another year older and deeper in debt

In spite of a 24 hr tummy bug I think MTL enjoyed the birthday week, made special by the arrival of our Australian son or A S who quickly threw off jet lag and was changing light bulbs, sorting technical problems, shopping and being the perfect Jeeves before you could say ‘G’day!’

We went to our favourite Italian for the birthday dinner and took A.S. to an excellent pub – new to him – The Notley Arms at Monksilver another day. I was given a beautiful bouquet which is still giving pleasure and MTL’s birthday present from our Australian family was a digital photo frame. You plug it in and there is an endless stream of family photos showing the family, the animals, the homestead and various adventures they have had out there. So much easier than poring over albums and something that will give us continuing pleasure

We might have been in Vermont driving through the Barle valley to Dulverton where although it was a dreary day we discovered the Wood’s Restaurant. MTL had read about it - apparently Prince William dined there and loved it but this is hearsay as MTL did the unforgivable and threw away the cutting. It is a restaurant and wine bar – quite unprepossessing looking from outside but the buzz hits you as you enter and the locals love it – always a good sign.

It was once an old bakery. There is a blazing log fire and it is split level with the popular bar at the top of the restaurant.

Clean, accurate, straightforward modern British cooking with French influences - using quality West Country produce - is the draw here with a great choice of eating options from simple light lunches to the full carte, which might include roast tenderloin of Somerset pork and slow-cooked belly stuffed with boudin noir. Ask for help in choosing a wine and you won't be disappointed either.

I can endorse that completely and the service is welcoming and efficient. Apart from the very expensive wines you can have any wine by the glass. Quite a find. We were thankful AS was at the wheel because – as usual - driving through the town was a nightmare - people apparently driving in circles – but somehow -we managed to park outside the restaurant.

When we bought our new TV I took my mother’s old one upstairs complete with digital box, DVD player and recording machine but didn’t know how to attach the recording machine and it seemed to be a good idea to play my old tapes and decide which were worth putting on disc. I used to be an avid cam-corder-er but my digital camera is more fun so I decided to offer the cam- corder to one of the grandchildren. However one of the sons warned me to be sure I hadn’t got a used film inside and AS managed to get it played so I could see what was on it. Thank goodness – it was taken 12 years ago – there is MTL’s 70th birthday weekend hosted by our now Australian family, interviews with grand children when they were little ones and my last interview with my mother on the eve of her emigrating to America – aged 90 - in September and she died early December. It brings back laughter and bitter sweet memories.


Jimmy Bastard said...

I look up at the pitter patter of the rain outside upon the glass of the roof. I wish it was to your own kitchen that I was to visit today. The thought of a pot of real tea, the odd biscuit or two, and the tales of your life....

Now that's the ideal way for a man to start his day.

Queenie said...

Your sons always seem so lovely when you write about them. I'm glad you all had such a good time.

You may find this hard to believe, but the verification word is 'nosyness'. I think it's talking about me!!

The Cloudcutter said...

Aww! Sounds so warm and cosy and lovely. Like Jimmy, I too look at the pitter patter of the sudden unseasonal rain we are having here, wishing that I could sit at your kitchen table and listen to your tales in rapture!

Kim Ayres said...

The wonders of discovering a long forgotten recording or photograph - three cheers for AS :)

kenju said...

I am so glad you discovered the old film before you gave the camera away. That sounds like irreplaceable memories!!

R. Sherman said...

Ditto Kim's comment. I'm sure the discovery made for a fun evening and an additional surprise for YTL.


Pat said...

Jimmy: MTL is addicted to tea and very fond of biccies so no problems- I'll put the kettle on.

Queenie: we are blessed with the children. You nosy? That's a healthy interest in humans. Me too:)

CC: I don't know about rapture but we have a large table and you'd be very welcome:)

Kim: I always imagine you know Dulverton well as your father's paintings were in the gallery there.

Judy: irreplaceable yes. The one of my mother reminds me of the angst I went through trying to dissuade her from emigrating but she had the blind stubbornness often associated with a placid nature.

Randall: MTL hasn't seen it yet. Because of the above I have to steel myself to watch it again. I'll do it soon.

Scarlet Blue said...

As I'm packing at the moment I keep coming across items that bring me smiles and tears. And I also have a camcorder tape that I know will make me sniff. I'll look at it again when I'm feeling braver.

Z said...

That's a lovely post, Pat. Thanks.

Somewhere - don't know if it survived two house moves of my mother's - there might be a tape of my father speaking. It's one of the old-fashioned big tapes from the 60s. If ever I find it, I'll have to get it converted, but I don't know if I can bear to hear it. Will I recognise his voice after 40 years? It'll upset me as much not to, as to hear it again and remember. And my mother is on it and some of their long-dead friends. Maybe better not revisited, I don't know.

savannah said...

first, a happy belated birthday to your fine groom! xoxoxo

speaking of recordings, the MITM found a recording of his father that was made during WWII. He had the record made into a cd for his mother and copies for his siblings. his dad died when he was 7 and his younger sister was only 4, so their memories of the dad and his voice were very slim. the technology we have now is even more astounding!

Pat said...

Scarlet: yes I think it is wise to wait until you really want to watch it. I've waited about nine years to do anything about it.

Z: if you find it - maybe get one o;f the children to watch it first. They won't be so emotionally involved. I'm sure you'll do something about it when you feel the time is right.

Savannah: thank you for the greetings.
That must have been a very moving experience for your husband's family.

Four Dinners said...

'Warm and cozy'....what a family should be.

Mine wasn't.

Now it is.

All't counts eh?...x

Pat said...

Four.D: I'm happy for you honey:)

Keith said...

You have a lovely life Pat, in spite of some minor setbacks. To say I envy you is wrong I know, but I do.

As Jimmy says in the first comment, thats the way things should be for a man.

This mans' family don't bother with me now, in spite of my repeated attempts to please them. My daughter (not Wendy) only bothers to see me twice a year. Since I lost my parther 5 years ago, I spend every Christmas alone now. I really hate and dread those three days!

Kim Ayres said...

I can picture the layout of Dulverton reasonably well, but most of the detail is missing It's half a lifetime since I was last there. I think the Barle Gallery still hs several of my father's paintings.

Guyana-Gyal said...

Although it was a dreary day weather-wise, there was so much sunshine all around.

Pat said...

Keith: I do sympathise and I know if MTL goes before me I'll be scuppered. We realise the children and grandchildren have to live their own lives and as there are five of them and two are in different countries we don't get to see all of them twice a year but treasure the times when we do. It must be so hard to lose one's partner - it seems to me together one can cope with almost anything. I'm glad you have lovely Wendy and my cyber son;)

Kim: I wanted to pop in and look but because of the weather and the long drive back I didn't bring it up.

GG: that's true.

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

How wonderful that AS was able to get that off of the camcorder and that it STILL was 'in tact'....Such a treasure, Pat....I know it is great to have him there to play with and to help out with all sorts of needed things.
That Pub sounds delightful!

I laughed when you said that everyone was Twittering but you and me...And Facebooking, too! I'm not doing either....lol!
I do think more and more bloggers are on Facebook and that seems to take them far away from Blogging---even more than Twittering....Well, I'm sticking it out in The Blog World. And I hope you are, too, my dear!

sablonneuse said...

So pleased to hear the Birthday went well.

Pat said...

Naomi: you can count on me:)

Sandy: great success and normal health restored thank goodness.

Guyana-Gyal said...

I feel sad for Keith.

Y'know, it's one of the reasons I came back home, after my father died, my mother was alone in Guyana, with all her children in other countries. Family does matter, greatly.

Pat said...

GG: your Mum's the lucky one.

Kanani said...

Sounds like a wonderful time! How nice that AS come all the way over, and I think the gift he bought was perfect!

Pat said...

Kanani: it sure is a gift one never tires of.