I always appreciate it when people talk to me about the things I write. Only a few people wanted to know why I had links with the Mafia but several were interested in Dyrham Park.
I was delighted to talk to Paul, the new tenor in our Church choir, because he knows more about it than I do! Why? His grandparents worked for Lady Islington (the tenant there during the war). Paul’s grandma was her cook and her husband was the factotum.
Last month’s question was asking what I have in common with Lady Islington. Well—one day she asked Paul’s granddad to paint the beautiful staircase white! This was a difficult task for him as, being a carpenter, he loved the natural beauty of wood. If you’ve visited my flat—you’ll realise that I love white furniture. I only have one valuable piece—a dresser. We bought it for our house on the Verdeen Corniche. It was hand-made by craftsmen at Niort in the Poitou Charentes. In our large entrance hall it looked magnificent. Now that it stands in my small dining area I would love to have it painted WHITE! I know that like Paul’s granddad, my husband would feel that I’d ruined it , but I may do it one day!!
Have you ever been in the wrong place at the wrong time? It happened to me last month. Usually I am in bed at 8.45am, that morning I’d taken a friend to Fishponds surgery and went on to Lydl’s supermarket to buy some flowers. In their car park, someone drove into the back of my car. I only noticed the damage when I reached home! No. that car park doesn’t have a CCTV camera, so I don’t know who did it!
However, how lovely it is when you are in the right place at the right time, which has happened to me countless times. At a party, aged 14, I met my husband to be. It was love at first sight—yes, it does exist! I came to the right place when I left France and decided to live in my birthplace again. It was the right place when I chose St John the Baptist Church where I’ve made really true friends. One of them likes France too, so has joined me there for many lovely holidays. My wish for you this Spring is that you’ll definitely be in the right place at the right time!
Paul Bocuse—a renowned French chef, based in Lyon, always advises “Never choose your menu in advance, shop first, then be inspired by what you buy.”
Have you watched the TV drama Mr. Selfridge? I loved it when the salesgirl took the man in charge of window dressing to the food markets in London—to get display ideas. The fish counter in Harrods is as colourful as a Picasso! Food should look as good as it tastes.
The fashion in “chic” restaurants is for “surf and turf” - fish with meat in the same dish. Steak with lobster is the rich version! You can try cheaper alternatives. In any case, I prefer my lobster served with plenty of butter and a glass of Chablis! Why not roll some streaky bacon around some mackerel? Why not scatter some chopped up crispy back bacon over some scallops? Both of these things work well. My husband liked gooseberries with his mackerel—so we were surprised to find that mackerel in France is called maquereau aux groseilles (groseille is a gooseberry!)
Remember……. Spring is Nature’s way of saying “LET’S HAVE A PARTY!”