Life is always full, isn’t it. For most of my adult life, I’ve longed for those endless weeks where nothing out of the ordinary happens. Gentle, slow weeks where time is endless, demands are small, and we are cheerful, content and doing just what we want at that moment. The sort of weeks we think we remember from our childhood, but really … they probably weren’t endlessly empty weeks, were they. It’s just we were little and didn’t notice all the comings and goings and changes that swirl around us as we make our way through life.
My grandmother passed away a few weeks back – this has made me sadder than I thought it would. I adore my Nanny, but she was so old and missed Grandad so much and regularly told us how ready she was to set off for the next big adventure. And yet, now that she has gone, I feel such a strong sense of loss. Even though Grandad passed three years ago, whilst Nanny was alive, he was still almost here – now that tenuous thread has been completely severed. I miss Nanny’s presence deeply. I miss being Nanny and Grandad’s granddaughter. I can’t quite fathom that such a huge part of my life is now well and truly over.
Noah is busy with work and university now – so there are never any slow, endless weeks. Whilst he learns to drive – a daunting prospect when every road around you is either dirt or a highway with a 100km speed limit – he relies upon us (but mostly me because I am always here and Julian is not) to drive him to and from town. I am utterly delighted with these changes for Noah – they are fabulous and he is thriving.
Julian – well, he is still working away mostly. Usually home for the weekend. Most often in Melbourne or Sydney during the weeks. And off to London and New York this weekend for a few weeks – oh I will miss him. Never ending busyness there, that’s for sure.
And me – well thank goodness I only work 2 days a week. I’d never fit it all in otherwise!
But this last week, well there’s been a lot of wonderful busyness. Noah and I visited Sydney for the weekend – details to come! And Aunty Anne has been visiting – so lovely! Today, we celebrated her 70th birthday and it was marvellous.
I decided a good old fashioned high tea would be just the ticket. I planned the menu based around sentimental favourites – jam drops because they were Nanny’s favourite thing to bake and she never arrived at a gathering without a tinful. Vanilla slices because they were Grandad’s favourite – oh he had a sweet tooth. Chocolate and caramel tarts – which became slice because I can’t find my little individual tart tins – because Aunty Anne has always been the Queen of Caramel. Mum’s special chicken sandwiches – Mum, Nanny, Jill and I have probably made thousands of these over the politicking years – and they are indeed delicious. Tiny Sausage rolls – because they’re fab and so very famous five-ish. And punch served up in the big silver punch bowl with plenty of floating raspberries and mint leaves.
For the first time EVER I actually did almost all the cooking and preparation the day before. Can I just say, it may have taken me 48 years to come to this realisation, but being prepared was awesomely empowering and relaxing. I might even do it again! Every moment of cooking and cleaning was blissful because there was oodles of time and no pressure. Truly good stuff. I must finally be growing up.
Alas, I was a little too enthusiastic and dressed for the occasion first thing this morning … a lovely sewed by me red linen skirt with patchwork trim, and my beautiful new blue and white checked linen smock made by the talented and always obliging Jo Dunsmuir of Frankie and Ray. Do you know, I asked her if she could make it in my size on Thursday. So she whipped it up and posted it the next morning – all the way from south coast Victoria – and it arrived at our little village post office Monday morning. Honestly, I feel like we are part of The House of Eliot – I am so thrilled and grateful to have discovered Jo. I adore sewing, but sometimes it is truly wonderful to have someone whip it up for me. Yes! However, remember I put on said smock early and lo and behold, the maremmas jumped all over me, and I brushed against wet wood, and smooshed against turkey house straw … so had to take it off and wash it and hang it in the autumn sun to dry, but it didn’t. Never mind. I have my Frankie and Ray Japanese seersucker smock so I wore that instead!
And prettying up the high tea plates was an utter delight. Of course a late autumn garden meant the pickings were slim – and I had to advise against eating the wee purple flowers and maguerite daisies because likely they are inedible – but everything looked so pretty. Especially when served up on my lovely Lotte plates – some dear pieces that Nanny gifted to me over the last ten years, the rest collected second hand by me, but even they feel like Nanny’s because you know. Lotte and Nanny. They are beautifully, forever entwined.
We all had a marvellous time!. The turkeys and alpacas and maremmas even sauntered around and provided entertainment at the garden fence. Aunty Anne loved it.
So life continues to twirl and swirl and shift and rebalance, and that’s just how it will always be. Won’t it.