Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Darling Buds Of May

Last Saturday Mr Shoestring was in a frenzy of preparations because he was expecting guests.  The Darling Buds of May was showing at the local playhouse and it is one of Mr Shoestring’s favourite plays.  (I suspect he has great admiration for Pop Larkin.)  Friends were calling round before we all set off for the play and Mr Shoestring planned a hearty repast for his guests and also a selection of cocktails (as Pop Larkin would thoroughly approve of) for their delectation and enjoyment.  He spent the afternoon preparing food and drinks, then slipped into his dinner suit and topped it off with his red smoking jacket (or dressing gown as we more sartorially challenged mortals would describe it).

All was prepared and the guests arrived in fine spirits and partook of his delicious food and drinks, which they seemed to heartily approve of.  Not a morsel of food remained, which is always a relief because it prevents one from feeling obliged to scoff down the leftovers the next day, and one is always trying to watch one’s figure these days.  We tried to stick to a suitably "retro" theme for the table, in keeping with the time frame of The Darling Buds of May.

Then we all set off for the playhouse (ladies wearing furs in honour of the occasion) to take in the spectacle of the amateur theatricals.  What a pleasant evening we had, the set was very cleverly designed to include the indoor and outdoor scenes and the actors all played their parts very well.  Pop Larkin was especially good, we thought.  Perfick, just perfick.  

The next day we had an early mother’s day high tea at Banco, the cafĂ© just around the corner in the town.  There were two of our daughters, plus my mum, and we took Mr Shoestring along also so he wouldn’t feel  neglected.

What a feast!  The table was set with pretty floral crockery and dainty linen, the sun streamed through the windows and the Earl Grey tea flowed.  We did our best but we could not finish all the dainty tidbits we were served.  All in all a very well rounded weekend, good company and lots of jokes and conversation, delicious food and an outing to the play. 

The garden was somewhat neglected of course, but I have been on an excursion to the garden centre and plan to put that right next weekend.  Now that we have been at Shoestring for a year I have more of a feeling for what thrives and what does not in our local conditions and am going to stick with the things which reward by flourishing.  Next weekend there are more lily bulbs and cyclamens to go in, and also there are plans afoot for more polyanthus (gradually doing away with the garish ones and replacing them with more muted, old fashioned looking shades), plus more fuchsias (which have been an unexpected runaway success).  Looking at the woody stems of fuchsias it seems that they should strike fairly easily from cuttings so when they finish flowering and I prune them I shall give that a go.  The plants I experimented with were only tiny, $2.99 each from Le Maison Rouge (aka The Warehouse) and I was somewhat doubtful of their chances of survival but they have done surprisingly well.  Now that the weather has broken and the rain has started it will be time to linger indoors more often, gazing at gardening books and making plans for the spring time.  Lots more spring bulbs have gone in this season, which reminds me there are still lots of tulip bulbs chilling in the refrigerator, they need to be planted out this weekend too.  So much to do, so little time at Shoestring!

Now that Mr Shoestring anticipates being once more in paid employment we are excitedly planning winter deco in Napier, a pleasure we feared we may have to forego.  Last year two of the girls came with us.  They took surprisingly well to hats, gloves and fur coats, and feature on this year's programme: