"The great thing is, if one can, to stop regarding all the unpleasant things as interruptions in one's 'own' or 'real' life. The truth is, of course, that what one regards as interruptions are precisely one's life." C. S. Lewis
left to right: Daughter Corinne's hubby Luis, his brother Fabian, Corinne in front of them. Son Jarel, barely peeking out from the back with my hubby Dean at back center. Dorothy (Candie's mother-in-law) with daughter Candie to her right. Fabian's girlfriend Hanna peeking out between them. Candie's husband Charles at back right, and their two lovely girls, Cassidy and Haley. Note the lovely cranberry gelatin mold in front. ;-)
Cassidy and Haley dressed up to match Grandma Julie's 50s theme. i believe a good time was had by all.
Well, i've been back from England for nearly a week now, and my body and brain might just be getting back on the right time zone. Between the usual loads of laundry and piles of dishes, i've been looking up recipes. When thinking about the Thanksgiving menu, daughter Cori came up with the idea of casseroles--from there we jumped to the idea of a 1950s theme. Jello mold anyone?
So i've been cruising the internet for foods in gelatin. What else says 50s like Jello with grated vegetables in it? i've found some great sounding recipes, though, to my surprise! i mean, for me personally, if it contains cream cheese i will come. Or cranberries and pineapple. These sound good to me.
i also need an interesting dessert, besides the pecan pie i can't help but make. Any 50s desserts ideas?
Oh--and i will be wearing my pearls and best apron.
Tea is a big thing here in England. i've known since i was a little girl that tea is very English and queenly, pinkies held high, full of mannerlyness and whatnot. And aren't tea parties pretty much the symbol of childhood imagination?
Tea is no imaginary happening here in the damp U.K. And tea has rules. To do tea properly there should be a teaPOT, not just a cup. Aforementioned teapot should be heated before making the tea, milk should go in the cup at a certain point... It's not simply a drink, it's an event. And there must be biscuits. And how much do i love a place where a "biscuit" is a cookie!
The weather is overwhelmingly conducive to the idea of a warming beverage. The boiler man comes in from the average gale force wind and rain to fix your boiler, and you offer him a nice hot cup of tea with biscuits. The moving men carrying boxes in the rain are offered tea. It is a polite and thoughtful country that way.
During this visit to England the house's boiler went out. Now, a boiler going out in winter England is like the time we rented a convertible in mid-summer Las Vegas--a bad idea. In England, the boiler is the source of not only hot water for bathing and dishwashing, but heat for the radiators. So, no boiler, no heat. No heat in this passage of autumn to winter in England? A bad idea gone tragic.
So the boiler guy comes in from one of the more thoroughly nasty days i've seen--freezing cold rain coming sideways, trees blowing, wind howling. He's covered in mud from waist to toes from his previous job.
"It's been quite a day!" he greets me cheerfully, wiping his feet. i am wearing two shirts, two sweaters, jeans, a scarf, two pairs of socks and am clutching a blanket around me.
Daughter Shawn says to her English hubby that she's going to offer the boiler man a cup of tea. Jon says, "Let me make the tea." Apparently there is some discussion in this household over what constitutes the proper cup of tea. Shawn has had a bad experience with tea-making for her fully British husband. He explains.
"When I have tea, I want it strong. And you should never use full fat milk, that's too creamy. You should taste the tea." i flashed back to a memory of my first cup of tea at his parents' house when we came to meet them years ago. His grandmother offered us tea and after pouring asked if we cared for milk in it.
"Oh no," i casually waved the idea away, "i usually drink it black," i smiled at her. One sip and i understood the offer. A serious cup of English tea peals the taste buds right off your tongue.
For Shawn and i, a cup of tea is sweet comfort. Creamy with milk, sweetened with honey, warm and soothing. i guess that for any proper Englishman or woman, if you come away with taste buds and without extra hair on your chest, you haven't had a proper cup of tea.
It just so happened to be the day they're celebrating Guy Fawkes day and Bonfire night. Having been told "layers, think lots of layers," i put on 2 shirts and a sweatshirt under my coat, and 2 pairs of socks under my new warm boots. i topped the whole ensemble with my recently purchased scarf, gloves, and cute hat. If not prepared, i was at least adorable.
We drove tthe 3 kids to a friend's house to park, then several families set off in the pitch black muddy evening for the field where the celebration would take place. i was handed an umbrella and fell into step behind numerous strollers with babies and rain baggies over them, and countless more small school children in wellies (rubber boots) and raincoats. The cloud of well covered adults and children moved off in a large gnat-like cloud to the field. The cloud grew larger as excited children and parents gravitated toward the rope separating us from the huge bonfire in the middle of the field.
Did i mention the whole "pitch black" thing? Here were families upon families, chatting and playing and standing bundled in the freezing rain like they were having a tea party. In the darkness, everyone looked the same to me--tall and short dark bodies with vaguely seen faces above, cheerfully saying "hello" to me as i was introduced.
Normal, it was all perfectly normal to these sturdy English. Rain, blowing like ice needles into your face? Normal. Slogging along a country road through muddy piles of leaves in the pitch black? Normal. Fireworks in the rain? All normal. Me? i kept wrapping and wrapping my scarf around my neck and wishing for a third pair of socks under my new boots.
i looked around at the crowd and asked Jon, my son-in-law, "how many people do you think are here?" He said, "Oh, probably a hundred, hundred-fifty." He laughed and said, "You'd probably have a thousand!" (i do after all, live in a populated area in California.) i said, "Oh no-we would have totally called it on account of rain!"
A good time was had by all, and on the bright side, i think i will only lose the one toe to frostbite.
Here's a fun link to explain the Guy Fawkes celebration.
i'll wait for daylight to get photos of the grandBrits to post.