December 19, 2009

* Friends

What's the secret to a magical overnight visit with old friends?  My friends, Peter and Brenda welcomed me into their beautiful nest with open arms, open hearts, and their spectacular open minds.  I felt as though I had arrived 'home'.  Brenda is an artist.  It oozes from her pores and drips into the surroundings she creates, her sculpture and the awe-inspiring food she lovingly and with passion, prepares in her kitchen.   Peter is charismatic, open, funny, engaged in life, and has been, well ... let's just say he's a man of the world.  You'd be amazed to know who he has shared a cocktail or two with!

 AAHHhhhh ... feels good already.  Sitting by the fire.  The champagne flutes are full.  Isn't it fabulous watching the bubbles rising up the middle of a champagne flute??  ... I digress.  The fire is wonderful, the armchairs comfortable, the conversation interesting and amusing.  The dogs, two Cavalier's named Emma and Lucy, and one Coton de Tulear named Habibi, are settling in nicely.  The background music drifts in and out of the chit chat.  Brenda disappears momentarily and reappears with phyllo pastry stuffed with warm brie and cranberries.  Another long sigh.  The afternoon drifts by unnoticed and we are ushered to the dining room.  My chair is pulled back for me while I am seated and then adjusted to perfection.  (Where did all the wonderful manners disappear to?)  Atmosphere at the table invites us to relax, enjoy and spend the evening.  We do.  Fillet positioned on toast smothered in pate appears - covered with just the right amount of some mystical sauce.  Beautifully thin sliced vegetables magically mix, marry, and meld their flavours into one baked dish, accompanied by freshly mashed potatoes.  Red wine, crusty bread and butter accompany.  Need I say more.  Dessert appears and disappears. More of the evening vanishes.  We move to the living room by a wood fire, good cognac, and books of a recent journey to China.  I fall in love with the Terracotta Warriors.  The evening melts away into the ebony night and we retire.

Morning arrives.  The household begins to whisper.  A knock on my door, "May I come in"?  Peter appears with a cup of strong English tea.  The cup is from Raffles, Singapore. He knows this will thrill me.  Two digestive biscuits on a small china plate accompany the tea.  I prop myself up in bed and gaze over the valley shrouded in mist and fog.  Ahhhh, this is the life!!  And so ... we wile away the morning.  Another cup of tea arrives.  Memories of my years in England rush back.  Mental note to self:  soak it up, make it last, savour all of it for as long as possible!

Fire's on in the family room.  Brenda is whipping up a batch of fresh blueberry muffins.  Strong European coffee is brewed in a french press.  My kind of coffee!!!  More chit chat, more laughs, more admiration of our babies.  Aren't they gorgeous!!

Smells of bacon and eggs fill the air.  Champagne bubbles mesmerize me again.  We find ourselves at the table once more.  Delightful, dazzling, delicious, delectable brunch.  Eggs, bacon, fresh potatoes, grilled tomatoes, thinly sliced mushrooms, toast, superbly thick gooey homemade marmalade  ..... I take a silent vow no food shall cross my lips for a week.

Suddenly it is 2:00 pm.  I must drive back to Victoria.

I come away from Brenda and Peters' a better person.  My heart is full, my soul has been fed, my spirits have been lifted in some immeasurable way.  I've been nourished not only with food, but with friendship, camaraderie and love.  Isn't that what we all need a little more of?

Thank you, my dears!  May you live long and prosper with much more than a full pocketbook.  May you live your life with quality.  May you prosper with joy, love, laughter and the many blessings this beautiful world offers us.  It is indeed an honour to know you.

"This is my wish for you:  Comfort on difficult days, smiles when sadness intrudes, rainbows to follow the clouds, laughter to kiss your lips, sunset to warm your heart, hugs when spirits sag, beauty for your eyes to see, friendships to brighten your being, faith so that you can believe, confidence for when you doubt, courage to know yourself, patience to accept the truth, Love to complete your life."
~  Lynnie Buttercup

PS:  What makes my heart sing, my mouth water and my waste expand?  Brendas' incredible Christmas tart, of course.


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