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Before we set off for Emsworth yesterday afternoon, we watered every plant container in the garden. This took some time. Just as we passed Brockenhurst on the way to Becky’s birthday celebration, I realised I had left my wallet at home. Returning home for it added 45 minutes to our journey.
Assembled at the North Road flat were Matthew;
Tess, seen here with Jackie;
Becky’s friend, Naomi
and her son, Louis;
Becky, seen here expressing surprised pleasure at our present of a Jutta Manser wood engraving;
and, of course, Poppy, here taking one of Flo’s teddies for a walk in her grown-up cousin’s toy pushchair;
trying on a Princess crown she had made herself,
changing into a suitable outfit to match that of another teddy;
rolling around the floor;
and bouncing a balloon.
Across the road at Nicolino’s restaurant our granddaughter polished off two bowls of olives before the starters arrived,
then enthusiastically joined in the toast.
I sat diagonally across from the other gentlemen.
Jackie, opposite me, photographed the ladies. Matthew was also engrossed in the story Becky was relating. Poppy, twisting her noodles, seemed a little concerned that her Grannie had grown a flashing object on her face.
Eventually the menu was studied for a choice of desserts.
Tess’s sunglasses were passed around.
Here is Becky looking none the worse towards the end of the evening,
and Poppy as lively as ever.
This could hardly be said of me when Tess came over to photograph my rather daunting Eton Mess, before which I had consumed a fine minestrone soup with chunks of white bread, followed by an appetising fish risotto. Naomi and I shared the best part of a bottle of Bardolino. As you can see, I was past caring what anyone else had enjoyed.
We stayed the night at Becky and Ian’s and returned home soon after 8 a.m.
Before this I photographed some rooftops from the balcony. Visible in this third picture are
the white doves that live in and around the belfry of St James’s church.
Periodically the birds would take off,
wings glinting, fly over the houses,
and return home to roost.
This evening we dined on flaky smoked haddock, piquant cauliflower cheese, boiled potatoes and carrots, with bright green spinach. I drank Cru de la Vallée du Rhone Chateauneuf du Paps 2015.