As I mentioned in a recent post, my little sister Tasha is heading off around the world with her boyfriend Chris (both right) for a year soon, cue a big family farewell to them at my parents’ in Somerset this weekend.
This was a day of food, fun and family, and a really wonderful way to see them both off. I will certainly miss them!
This is a photo post really, because everything was so lovely, the pictures can do the talking all by themselves, but I won’t be able to resist some commentary!
Mum and Dad had done a huge amount of work in the garden to have it looking beautiful, but on the day it was mainly up to Tash and I to do all the cooking and preparation (though Mum had helpfully made lots of food in advance), with the help of Chris and Ste. The boys moved tables and chairs and did some last minute pruning and a lot of sweating (it was incredibly hot), whilst Tash and I shopped, chopped and cooked.
Tash made a gorgeous green herb couscous salad from an Ottolenghi recipe, potato salad and then some fantastic chocolate and hazelnut filo pastry straws for pudding. Mum made coronation chicken, a rice salad and egg mayonnaise, and I pre-cooked and marinated the ribs, made the burgers (making 20 burgers takes a while!), a roasted butternut squash, beetroot, feta and sage tart, and an asian salad. I also picked up a couple of £3 bunches of flowers in Lidl, from which I made three centrepieces for the table. Mum took one look at them and said there would never be enough, but Tash and I went off on a mission around the garden with the secateurs to find every green ‘filler’ we could and then I tried my hand at flower arranging for the first time. I was pretty pleased with myself, and even Mum, who is a master-arranger, said I’d done a surprisingly good job (thanks Mum!).
Sufficient plates and cutlery and glasses found, cleaned, polished and laid on the table later, and it looked lovely. All we needed was some guests.
First though, given how icky we were from running around all day (see the hideous filth gathered on my toes!), we all jumped in the pool to cool off before going to get ready. Even the dogs both had a little swim, though neither intentionally – they are not very good at realising that you can’t walk on water!
Once we had all gone and got dressed in our finery and mixed up a huge vat of Pimms, the guests started arriving. Billy was on hand to do a last minute check around to see that everything was ready.
My Grandma, two aunts, uncle, and all my cousins were coming, along with our family friend David and his wife Judith. It is always so lovely to get everyone together, and we had great fun catching up over copious Pimms and nibbles.
I got lots of pics of Tash, because she looked particularly lovely, but also because I won’t get to take any more of her for a whole year!
As you can see, not all the photos I took of her were quite so pretty (see number three):
Then I let Ste take my camera for a little while, with the instruction of getting me in a couple of photos. He picked his moment just as I was choking on a carrot. Thank you Ste.
To make up for it, the lovely boy got cracking on the barbeque food, which he cooked single-handedly (and he also supplied two of his marvellous lemon meringue pies for pud, which got the Dad seal of approval and were so good my Uncle refused to believe he’d made them!).
Toto, faithful to her daddy as she is, kept him company all the while he was cooking. I can’t think why.
When all the food was cooked the ravenous hordes descended upon it and picked the table clean.
The rest of the evening passed in a blur almost of chatter, laughter, catching up, and hearing about Tash and Chris’s travel plans.
In fact, we were all having such a lovely time we didn’t really even notice it start to get dark, though Dad thoughtfully lit the candles I’d put out (and had strung up lights with the boys earlier). We ended the soiree at around midnight, and all fell into bed very tired and very happy. A wonderful day.