Now We Are Sixty And A Grandmother

My baby sister reached the age of sixty today.

Elizabeth & Jasper 2

And she has recently become a grandmother to Jasper.

Before we left for a weekend at The Firs, Jackie made a bread and butter pudding to take there for the assembled company.Bread and butter pudding

Here is the method: (Barbara, please note this is not the one referred to as ‘spicy bread pudding’)

First of all, please yourself as to quantities.

Take a variety of bread on the stale side (it absorbs the liquid). Butter the bread and the dish or tin. You will also need sultanas, brown sugar and ( 1/2 teaspoon here) nutmeg. This dish has about five slices of bread, 4 eggs and 3/4 litre of semi-skimmed milk with sloshes of evaporated for flavour. Full cream milk is good, but has a less rich taste and more calories.

First whisk up the eggs, milk, and nutmeg. Then sprinkle a few sultanas on the bottom of the greased dish. Place the first layer of bread over this and sprinkle brown sugar over it with a quantity of the milk. Repeat layering until full. Finally sprinkle nutmeg over the top. If you do the same with sultanas as in this example they may burn.

For 45 minutes cook in oven on lowest heat (gas mark 1). For another 20 increase heat to gas mark 3 or whatever is the electrical equivalent.

Finally, and most importantly, if you wish to photograph this creation for posterity, do so as soon as it comes out of the oven, for the impressively puffy surface sinks rapidly and flattens out almost immediately.

Paul, Maisie & birthday lunch tableThe plan was that people came and went during the day. Adam, Thea, & Jasper were not expected, but turned up as a lovely surprise just after noon. I think her grandson would have been enough for Elizabeth, but various friends, Jacqueline and Mum made up the complement for the lunch that Danni had artistically arrayed on the table. Paul and Maisie were first there. The chequerboards must in themselves have been very carefully produced.

MaryThis afternoon Elizabeth, her friends Mary and Cathy, and our sister Jacqueline went for a walk in Manor Farm Country Park near Hamble. It was rather wet and muddy, the water running down the sloping gravelled paths.

We met and spoke to two Hampshire Council workmen wielding shovels, their Wellington boots deep in a ditch full of dark ochre coloured water. Elizabeth, Cathy & Council workmenTheir task was draining the land, which meant unclogging the numerous channels blocked with detritus. They were cheerful enough.

While the walkers were out Danni, Jackie and Andy prepared a do it yourself prawn cocktail and an excellent sausage casserole to precede the bread and butter pudding and chocolate cake for our evening meal at which there were twelve diners.  Red, white, and pink wines were imbibed.

We stayed overnight at The Firs.

For today’s title I have borrowed and combined that of an ever-popular children’s book and an immortal phrase from Margaret Thatcher in 1989. The book is A.A. Milne’s ‘Now we are six’, and the quotation, on the birth of the then Prime Minister’s grandchild, ‘We have become a grandmother’.

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