Surprise, surprise!

I generally don’t enjoy surprises, largely because I have my days mapped out well in advance and discovering something at the nth moment means, horror of horrors, I might miss out or be unable to take advantage. Friday afternoon I noticed my sister had sent me a text – she’s staying at her holiday flat down the road. My other sister and my Dad had flown over that very morning – she’d been notified by her husband very late the night before. With plans already made and a full week-end in the offing, I invited them around for dinner on Sunday, Father’s Day, my only available slot!

A very busy week-end mitigated against killing the fatted calf, or in my kid sister’s case, the fatted pig. I did however promise a cake for Father’s Day and duly delivered a lemon souffle sponge served with a compote of fresh cherries. On the basis of “never knowingly undercatered” I also baked some white nectarines with almond cream and set out a small cheese platter. The main course was a variety of salads served with tart Provencal or potato tortilla or both all washed down by our favourite beverage – champagne.

As my youngest sister reminded me it was the first time we’d all been together on Father’s Day for many a year. Sunday lunch on Father’s Day had become a bit of a tradition with us choosing to dine en famille at a number of restaurants within easy reach of both London and the Midlands. I admit our  favourite had been Le Manoir aux Quatres Saisons. This was the first time since our move to France in 2005. I like to think that, while I wouldn’t have won any Michelin stars, Raymond Blanc himself would have been happy to tuck in to my light dinner.

Sunday morning I’d had an early start to go and watch the Regional age-group Championships held in Le Cannet where my friends’ son was competing. The “minimes” race was won by the home team who, not unnaturally, had probably been practising on the route for weeks. The triumphant youngster in question knows only too well that if he approaches the line with my friends’ son, he’ll get beaten in the sprint for the line. He wisely opted to build  a race-winning advantage on the small drag up to the finish on each of the 19 loops. The facial expression of my friends’ son on the podium says it all. He’ll have learnt from his tactical error and won’t allow it to happen again.

Unaccustomed to being on the 2nd step of the podium, he's not a happy bunny
Unaccustomed to being on the 2nd step of the podium, he’s not a happy bunny!

We’re now rushing headlong towards the Tour de France and mid-year – where has the time gone? I’m hoping to profit while the Tour is in our neck of the woods and am planning accordingly. Thereafter I shall be ignoring the glorious sunshine in the afternoons and will remain glued to the action on the big screen. I’ll hopefully be multi-tasking. There is no ironing mountain this year but those drawers need to be tackled. I have ignored them long enough. One of the advantages  – and disadvantages – of having plenty of storage space is that I can keep everything looking “neat and tidy” but am rumbled as soon as anybody opens a drawer or cupboard.

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