Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Blessings of Friendship

This weekend has certainly turned out so far to be one of the most relaxed, happy, and enjoyable birthdays I think I've probably ever had.

All of it has been made possible by the friendship of many amazing people, who I am truly blessed to have as friends.

On Friday I spent the day baking, cooking and preparing for Saturday.

The marinaded/slow roast beef was joined by cola ham, and chicken roasted with lemon, thyme and rosemary.

I baked olive oil gluten free baguettes as well cheese and sesame gluten free loaves. As my brother, who is a coeliac, was coming to the birthday party I wanted everything to be gluten free.

Fortunately, as it turned out, the bread was so tasty that no one on the day noticed/complained about there not being any "normal" bread!.

In the evening, my generous hearted boys told their Dad that they were clubbing together to buy a take away for dinner.

Their Nan (who was over helping out with Jonathan) matched them pound for pound, so I was able to relax in the evening and take a break from cooking!

Saturday morning dawned with an beautiful clear blue sky and gorgeous sunshine and the day just got warmer and warmed. This meant we were able to put chairs outside and our guests were able to make the most of our sun-trap patio.

In the end we had twenty-six adults and twenty-nine children here!

Some friends brought food to contribute, and someone generously provided juice, fizzy, and wine (as well as crisps and chocolate for the kids!).

I also have to mention Max who managed to combine all the things I said were my favourite sweet things (meringue, fudge and toffee) and made the most amazing dessert that disappeared really fast!

The food all went really well actually, which was a relief. Just a few left overs - enough so I didn't feel that I'd undercatered, but not so much that I could think no one like the food! An experimental roasted vegetable and cheese tureen that I made at the last minute on Friday turned out to be one of the biggest hits.

I was too busy to take photos, but as always Henrietta did that for us all - I'll let the photos speak for themselves.

One of the nicest things about the day was the chance to catch up with people that I hadn't seen in months, or in some cases, years. The bitter-sweet part came from having Mum and my Brother there - but no Dad. He was present though in our thoughts every moment.

The celebrations continued in the evening when we went out for a meal with eight friends. My friend Stan was able to come - I've known him for 23 years! - which made a nice "seasoning" to the group who were all new friends from BCC. I really enjoyed the company and it was a lovely end to the day.

Today, my acutal birthday, the sun is still shining and I'm off now to church to give thanks from a VERY grateful heart.

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