So. Last weekend was the goodbye/Christmas gathering for the Jackson clan.
After travelling down to Mum & Dad’s on the Friday night for a fish “n” chip supper, Gill & I went to my brother Martin’s on the Saturday morning to prepare the evening meal. We’ll have 16 guests each night in the chalet so we were taking the opportunity to have trial run of our recentry received menus. Our 2014/15 menus hadn’t arrived by the beginning of November so we had prepared a full menu (2 canapés, appetiser, main (meat, carb & veg) & pud!!) based on the 2012 menus. Then, the day after our menu creation – the new menus arrived – so we started again!
It took a while longer than regulation time to prepare the dinner but – in our defence – we were i) setting a relaxed pace and ii) doing everything together (no vomit reflexes please) so that we could learn the recipes and techniques. But after a mere 5 hours we were ready to wow our guinea pigs.
Smoked salmon on focaccia (home made) as the appetiser.
Chicken in lemon, garlic & thyme with dauphinoise potatoes and fried red pepper & green beans for the main course and
Chocolate brownies on a bed of warm chocolate sauce topped with vanilla ice cream and drizzled with strawberry coulis to round off!
The only problem was that four of the guests failed to arrive. In appalling weather Dad (84) had hit a curb and punctured both near-side tyres. One Mobile Phone between them that didn’t contain any useful numbers, all they could do was call the RAC who wouldn’t help because punctures were not covered on Dad’s breakdown cover. He could pay to extend his cover but they wouldn’t accept cash and none of them had a credit card with them! So – they got a taxi home!
Minus Mum, Dad, brother Dave and sister-in-law Alison, those left standing (Joe, Kay, James, Martin, Gill & I) tucked into a meal for 10+! And although I say so myself – very good it was too. We then had a rattling good time until the small hours!
Sunday, after a hearty breakfast of bacon sarnies, we visited Marilyn (my elderly aunt) in her new (very nice) nursing home; had an abortive trip to the driving museum in Gosport to drop off a replica model of the diving chamber used by the navy (under the supervision of Gill’s Dad) where the man who said he’d be there wasn’t! A quick cup of coffee with Dave & Alison in their flat before a quick last visit to Mum & Dad’s for final farewells!
It was really quite strange to be saying “goodbye for 5/6months” even though it can often be that long between visits home. But, as Martin summed it up on Sunday – there’s something a little more final about being in a different county. Previously we were still “there” and now we won’t be.
And we’re one step closer to leaving!