Gladys, a testament to the power of good genes, took up swimming at the age of eighty, even learning to dive, after a lifetime of fearing water. More recently she has embarked on piano lessons, sustained by the occasional glass of red wine. Sadly, she is only related to my husband by marriage.
The last few months have been a flurry of DIY and small repair jobs - all those pesky little tasks which have been in the queue for years, suddenly getting done under the deadline of the family do. Now the house is so clean and tidy we barely recognise it.
Then, the testing of new dishes for the feast. I only have a limited repertoire and bread and butter pudding hardly meets the requirements of the buffet lunch. So my husband and I were eating Delia's Key Lime pie at every meal for a while. Very delicious it is too; simplicity itself to make and available on Delia's website. Even simpler was the Banoffee Pie recipe offered as part of a dinner party menu in the "Times" by no less a personage than Katie Price. A "Heart attack" menu, as she said. But the pie, the main ingredient of which was a can of condensed milk boiled for four hours, was actually very lovely.
This week sees our tenth wedding anniverary, celebrated here by this beautiful card hand-made for us by my husband's aunt, Hilda Tye. This is tatting in variegated crochet cottons. One can't help but feel that a little rebranding of this craft might bring it new fans, since the results are so spectacular.