When I was a teenager, I used to read “Seventeen” magazine regularly. It seemed to contain all the secrets of a teenage girl’s universe in the 1980’s. My favourite bit was always the calendar they ran in August, setting out things to do each day to get ready to go back to school or college. I was thrilled that someone could actually tell me what to do in order to make sure my life ran smoothly, setting it all out day by day like that.
I had a look at a Seventeen magazine recently when we were in Canada, and it, like me, has definitely changed. I don’t know if they still run their August calendars, but based on the titles of the articles I flipped through, I somehow doubt it. What hasn’t changed about me though, and I suspect about many women, is our wish that we could have our lives all mapped out so that we knew exactly what to do in order to make sure that whatever lay around the next corner was both desirable and manageable. Sadly, no one has yet developed a calendar that can do that for us and life remains pretty much totally unpredictable.
Which is why it is so nice to catch up with old friends who seem not to change very much at all, even when their lives, like our own, are often swirling vortexes of chaos! We had a wonderful time with our friends who came for dinner last night. They are the sort of friends who it is never hard to find things to talk about with, and if there is a pause in conversation, no one feels uncomfortable. We don’t normally entertain much during the week due to Guy’s punishing work schedule, but it was a real pleasure to make an exception this time.
It was one of those great evenings when everything fell into place beautifully, and I was able to cook dinner without losing my cool, even with everyone gathered round in the kitchen so I wouldn’t be left out of the conversation. Of course, I’m very lucky to have a huge kitchen with a sofa and lots of chairs in it so there is plenty of room for people to spread out. If I had tried to cook like that in first (considerably smaller) kitchen in our flat in Crystal Palace all those years ago, it would have been completely impossible. Dinner came together beautifully, while everyone sipped Kir Royale and nibbled on nuts. I made a new recipe up, for chicken in a mustard, wine and tarragon sauce (soon to be a Recipe of the Week) and served it with gorgeous little red skinned potatoes, broccoli and carrots. We had Nigella Lawson’s “Orange Scented Brioche Pudding” (from her book "Feast") for dessert which was delightfully easy to make and meltingly delicious.
We played on the Wii after dinner which was great fun even if I am totally crap at tennis and my usual brilliance at bowling was eclipsed by my friend! We stayed up chatting till after midnight and I must admit I can really feel that this morning. Now I am doing so much exercise with the running, Pilates and yoga I find I get really tired and staying up late is one of those things that is NOT A GOOD IDEA anymore, even if I am only drinking herbal tea at the end of the evening.
I’m just off to load the dishwasher again. The only thing about entertaining I hate is the cleaning up afterwards!