Friday, 2 May 2008

Supper # 11 - Pednor, Bucks.

Out of Henley and through Marlow to Great Missenden. Lots of hills. It's almost laughable how slow Jimmy lags up the inclines; like being behind a really old tractor for the people behind...but they don't know that inside we are packed to the sun-roof with chocolate. Hardcore choc supplies that make this vehicle not only big and fat, but heavy.

The day at the Roald Dahl Museum goes smoothly. Not particularly busy. Last night's port is making itself felt and I am content to shelter from the rain, eat brownies and leaf through Vogue. I slightly long for a B&B but have been put in touch with a family just outside town who have kindly offered me supper and a bed.

I don't hold out much hope for my conversation skills tonight but as soon as I arrive at Pednor and am greeted so warmly by Knoxie and her family none of us can stop talking.

THE SET-UP: John and Knoxie are old friends of my parents from the sixties. I don't remember them really but I get them right away. They're familiar to me and have that great young spirit that my folks have always sought. They are free and easy yet the house is super organised. They have a Spanish housekeeper who powers through the 13th century pile. I'm impressed - I've never seen so many pictures and ornaments and endless collections of things.

As soon as I arrive we are joined by their middle daughter, Zara and her husband and then their youngest and her polo playing friend from Australia. (I don't actually know if he plays polo but he ought to looking like that). We sit outside in massive furry coats eating quails eggs with celery salt and knocking back white wine. They all want to know about the tour and Zara, especially, seems hell-bent on franchising from me.

We move in to the large country kitchen where bottles of wine hold the table in place and Knoxie sets to carving.

WHO CAME: Knoxie and John, Zara and David, Rose and the polo player and me.

WHAT WE ATE: Roast pork with perfect carrots, roast potatoes, broccoli and parsnips. The gravy is delicious. We have redcurrant jelly with strawberries and raspberries and cream for pud No. 1 but there's no way I can't lead them, Pied Piper-like, out to the van for some truffles and ice cream. They go mad for it and (like everyone) want to hear the chimes and play with the lights. We all play shop for a bit and I broker a deal with David for a heavy duty chocolate sale in the morning.

DINNER TABLE TOPICS: Zara and David's wedding, the 'Nicky Clark of Australia' being flown over as a gift to do her hair...and how embarrassing it was when she caught him in bed with his boyfriend later on in the day, dancing on the kitchen table at Christmas, Phoenix and New Orleans, Rose and the polo player's night out at a tiki bar in London, the sixties and Knoxies car with a built-in record player (how the hell did that work?!), the deb scene and how refreshing it was when my dad would show up in a kaftan instead of a dinner jacket, the horse with no teeth.

We drank and drank and talked and talked. In the end I cannot hold out any longer - I have to retreat to bed. I grab a 'Hello' from the ample stack in the downstairs loo and mount the stairs, kissing them all good night.

MY BED FOR THE NIGHT: Pure, chintzy delight.

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