K: After my mini-drama last week, losing my ID, and being sent to Madras, my summer bank holiday weekend started perfectly with a couple of glasses of Champagne in a comfy Club seat en route back from India.
We landed in glorious sunshine, and I dashed off the aircraft first, desperate to get home and enjoy what was left of the weekend in south east London. We had bought tickets to see the inaugural cabaret show at our local pub, the Bridge House, with our friends Paul & Jamie. As it was a beautiful day, we started with a little bottle of rose in the garden of the pub before the cabaret, then another one at the start of the interval, and then decided it would be foolish not to take another one into the second act of the cabaret too. The show itself was amazing (though the chairs were very hard for a 2-hour sit) – four musical theatre friends taking turns to chat and sing. There was a mixture of theatre classics and unknown witty ditties too.
We decided to have dinner in the garden of the pub, and were treated to more musical delights, this time in the form of vocalist Natalie and her guitarist, Mickael. We had the prime spot in the garden – her idyllic tones, and his perfect fingerwork both contributed (along with the scorching sunshine, delicious meals, and a couple more bottles of pinot grigio blush) to the perfect summer’s Sunday.
Over dinner we discussed the next day’s street farewell drinks party in our garden. I don’t know if it was a natural progression, or the wine, but something which started as a handful of neighbours with some drinks turned into an event in its own right. I’m fairly certain it was purely down to Jamie’s rose’-fuelled enthusiasm, but by the end of that night we had booked Natalie & Mickael for our garden the next day!
At 5am on Monday morning, the very first thing which went through my head when I opened my eyes was: Oh God, we’ve booked a live singer for the garden. The next thing was: Ouch, my head. I managed to drift off again, but by 9 we hit the ground running. Walk the dog. Get to the supermarket. Cut the grass. Clean the house. Set the garden up. I am amazed, but we even managed a half-hour snooze before the first guests arrived.
Other than a slightly chilly Atlantic wind (which really only hit when the occasional cloud covered the sun), the afternoon was a great success. Natalie and Mickael went down a treat., and I would highly recommend them to anyone wanting to add more than just a touch of class to a party (www.thedailyspecialsband.com). They ended up being a lovely farewell gift from Jamie and Paul, so a huge thank-you to them. Everyone mingled and chatted well… only the occasional offence being taken (no… he is Australian!), and only one glass broken!
Having taken a couple of days to reflect on it, I have suffered the odd pang of terror – will we ever be in a position to enjoy something like that again? Are we completely foolish to wrench up our very-well established roots and search for a more fulfilling life? Isn’t the love and company of more-than-a-few good friends enough? Will people honestly make the effort to travel 700 miles to visit us? The realisation that never again will we have an afternoon like that in that location really got me down. To the extent that I almost wish I hadn’t the party – that way I wouldn’t feel like I do now. I lay last night actually calculating how much it would cost us to withdraw from our sale/purchase.
Two days have passed now, and the terror has subsided slightly. To anyone involved in our sale/purchase, fear not. We are continuing with our new adventure. These feelings are only natural. I read this in a shop in Cape Town last year, and I took a photo and sent it Phill, at a time we were still on the fence about what to do: