It’s been a busy week trying to fit in as much as possible.
Monday the landlords arrived to do a 20-point inspection of the flat so I had to try some bribery and corruption by making blueberry muffins in the hope that we got a 5* review ....
Actually, it was nothing like that. We’ve known our landlords (Ken & Irene) for 40 years. Geez, that’s really dating us. They came down from York to say cheerio and to meet our friends, Anne and Richard who’ll take over from us for a few months while their home is being renovated.
Monday night it was dinner with Big Stephen and Small Stephen. No drink-driving worries for us — just had two flights of stairs to negotiate after superb champagne, red wine and a Tagine dinner created by Small Stephen. His flat is so warm and elegant now after its refurb. The artwork has been rehung and he’s indulged in a few luxurious purchases in the way of a beautifully crafted Bo Concept dining table and Jane Churchill cushions and lightshades - all adding to the overall elegance. Out came the fabric swatches for a little consultation as he can’t quite decide what to choose for drapes. It was a lovely evening, ending with a little dancing around their sitting room.
Out the door at 9am on Tuesday and off for our last day of exploring with Richard our neighbour who has kindly chauffeured us around some beautiful parts of England. Today was the pretty town of Winchester then on to Portsmouth - the departure place of many new world settlers heading for Australia.
I wasn’t going to pack and ship tinned confit duck and tinned Puy lentils back to NZ, so I enlisted the help of neighbours Richard across the hallway and Mike upstairs to help us eat it. That was Wednesday night’s dinner sorted and Mike turned up in his World Cup 2015 All Black training jersey and ear piece from the game, as a salute to us two Kiwis. Both brought delicious French red wine to complement our dinner. Another lovely evening.
The famous fine landscape artist, JMW Turner had his country house in Twickenham and this too has been renovated and is in easy walking distance of us. It’s a little house but beautifully formed with arches and a stunning curved staircase - all designed by Turner himself. Turner used it as an escape from his hectic London life which became intense, the more famous he became. He installed his father in it full time, bringing him ‘down’ from London. His old dad, who’d been a barber and wig maker by trade became the housekeeper, cook and gardener. It was a short but sweet visit on Thursday.
Today was a super walk to Bushy Park with coffees at The Pheasantry cafe with the Stephens - all three of them. A few more social engagements in the coming week then it’s time to fly south on Saturday night.
Where did two years and eight months disappear to....