Monday, 26 May 2008

Supper # 24 - Inverness: BACK TO JIMMY'S ROOTS

Any trip round Britain was always going to have to include a return to the fountain from which Jimmy first sprung - Inverness. Yes, I remember that day when we flew in to the wild west-like airport and there was Eddie all ready to take me to my future....The truth is that I'd bought the van on eBay, unseen. Crazy as this may sound it was Eddie's soothing, almost dulcet voice with the lilting Wester Ross accent that reassured me that it was all ok.

"Petra my dear, it will be wonderful to see you again and see how the old girl's getting on" he said down the phone when I told him of my plans. And as I roll into Inverness I am located by the family's blue Subaru and led through town and out into the backwoods to their house. We go into their immaculate home, full of stuffed animals and great comfy Lazy-Boys, and into the kitchen where the table is all set and ready for action.

WHO CAME: Eddie, his wife Val, their two kids, Martin and Victoria and a couple of friends.

THE SET-UP: There is high excitement at my visit. Some friends have been invited for supper and everyone wants to know everything about it all. I field hundreds of questions - about how much baking I have to do, where do I bake, where I go, how busy I am, what's been my favourite place, why I'm doing it, what I'm doing next, how long I'll be doing it, what's Willie like, what's his chocolate like.....I'm used to all these questions but sometimes it can feel like I'm caught in the same frame, wilting.

I avert the questions and instead ask about them - about Eddie's ice cream wars where he was nudged off his round by some surly pretender, about their friends' one visit to London years ago and the kids' Highland dancing successes. We talk about Eddie's dalliance with a royal back in the day and then how he and Val got together when she spotted him working as a bouncer at the club. The kids are fascinated by me because they saw me on the telly and Martin decides the best route for Willie to take his chocolate down - "Of course - Lidl! It's obvious!".

WHAT WE ATE: Dinner is huge - a great meaty feast of roast lamb and beef, neeps, cauliflower, roast spuds, carrots and Yorkshire pud all cooked by Eddie. Val doesn't cook; she prefers making cakes. Eddie and I drink Shiraz and everyone else sips Schloer. And then when it's pudding time there is mania.

THE PUD: I make brownie fudge sundaes because of the kids. The brownies are gently warmed in the oven so that the centre goes soft and rich whilst the top develops that wonderful crispiness. Choc fudge sauce is warmed in a pan by Victoria and vanilla ice cream retrieved from the van. Everyone enjoys it - especially Eddie who tells me it's one of the best sweets he's ever had.

They really take me into the family for the night. We go and feed bread to the 'coos' and milk to the lambs. We watch the kids perform their dance routine and Victoria play the accordian. Then we go upstairs to their super-comfy sitting room with the incredible view of the bay and watch home videos. It's all cosy and reassuring.

MY BED FOR THE NIGHT: Val and Eddie insist on giving me their great big comfy bed for the night. I only accept because I think they'd be much happier that way. I am touched by their kindness.

No comments: