**This is an entry from way back, summer of 2006, I believe. I’m on a deadline with a client, so you’re getting archive treats!
Brunch at Auntie Lu’s English Restaurant – most of their tables were outside, accommodating a group of 12 women celebrating their friend’s impending trip around the world by taking her out to a different ethnic cuisine every day/night. Lu gave them an English Culture Quiz and the winner got a bottle of wine!
So there was a lot of room inside the restaurant, and I looked up from the Times Culture section to see Cal, Gwennie, and Lu dancing. I think Lu might have had a spatula in her hand. Merlin the dog was also frolicking around. Anna, Louis and Natalia came in to pick up the pub’s lunches for takeaway. Shelton ate a hangover brunch outside, then moved over to the outside lounge area so that Jeremy and Paulette could have their hangover brunch. It felt like the first scene in a play, set in the place where everyone comes in and you get a bit of each character’s persona by hearing what they did the night before., and seeing them interact. I was a blissful, quiet observer and I left fully satisfied.
Later that day we went to Fiona’s for a huge pork feast. Her youngest, Flo, chose to pick this day to feel unloved and so she was dramatically flung onto the couch wrapped in blankets and weeping amongst the kittens and cats. Rose and various other teenage girls were slinking around, looking conspiratorial. Fiona’s two-room cook’s kitchen was a mine field of mess and splatters and bowls and pots piled high in Dr. Seuss-like fashion. It is obvious she loves to cook. The younger kids jumped with abandon into the pool or crawled up into the cherry tree to feast. Margot was on a platform built into another tree, cooing at a kitten she had brought up there for company.
The terrace was taken over by the grown-ups. Two enormous wooden tables and a motley assortment of benches, wicker sofas, and Adirondack chairs were dragged from every corner of the property to accommodate the stream of people coming in all bearing wine and beer. Mismatched, beautiful plates were brought out in huge heavy stacks and 25 of us feasted on roasted pork, mashed potatoes, roasted potatoes, and an assortment of salads.
Dessert was an ENORMOUS Pavlova, and huge piles of mismatched and elegant bowls were brought out, and everyone had at least seconds if not thirds.
Various unnamed people hijacked the kids’ stereo and we sang cheesy ’80s pop songs at the top of our lungs and corrected each other’s misheard lyrics and screamed laughing. One of the kiddies brought back fresh eggs from the chicken coop and we marveled at their warmth and there was an egg toss that ended badly for Cal and Jeremy.
Wine and stories were traded back and forth. Eva sang and played guitar, and I sang, and Dave played some great oldies on the guitar for us to scream to, and then we settled back into laughter and more stories.
Cal left early with Andy, and I shared a taxi back around midnight with Lu, Mu, Sam and Janet. It was raucous and when we got out, Sunday night in Montpel welcomed us back to its silent streets, little bits of songs and lost logic and we bade goodbye in the street and we all made it upstairs and into the correct apartments.
I think that rereading my journal from Rome has taught me that it’s up to me to seek and capture a magical life, which this weekend was the determined and successful start of. If New York is my first great love, and Rome is my one true love, Montpel is the one who you accept a date with on a whim, and you can’t get a taxi to the restaurant, then it’s closed and you go to another place and wind up getting some kind of food poisoning, and you lose your cell phone, and the kiss goodnight is clumsy, and you wrote his number down wrong, but you wake up the next morning and realize you had a really great time and he’s a really good guy.