06 August, 2007

Barbecue triple whammy

I can't quite believe I have no photos from this weekend just gone. I guess there's no enforced correlation between the significance of events and the number of supporting images. Of course there's no reason on earth why there should be but in this case it's particularly a pity.

Friday we left work early and 4:15pm saw us seated on the Cambridge Cruiser non-stop service to London. Two hours later we were knocking on the door of a house in Eastcote on the north-west reaches of the Metropolitan line. We were excitedly greeted at the door by the reason for this trek into parts unknown: my pen-friend of thirty-three years, Louisa. Originally from Singapore and now settled in up-state New York, Louisa was making a visit to these shores with her family and generously invited us to dinner at her sister's house where they were all based.

You can't correspond with someone for over thirty years (even if contact has become sporadic, and mostly electronic, in recent years) without some kind of bond developing and Louisa and I have known each other much longer than either of us has known their respective spouse. I met Louisa in person a few times in the early eighties but this was the first time we'd seen each other in more than twenty years, it was my first chance to meet her husband and kids, and Lisa's first chance to meet any of them. Suffice to say we had a great time: they are all really cool folks.

Surrounded by the sister's eight West Highland White Terriers, we sat out in the extensive back garden and tucked into a seemingly never-ending flow of delicious food, much of it grilled by Louisa's husband on a brand new gas barbecue. All too soon it was time for us to make our exit and retrace our steps to Cambridge. We spent as long travelling as we did at the party but we both agreed it was more than well worth the effort.

Saturday, we were the barbecue hosts as Lisa's friend and sometime colleague, Sandro, paid us a visit. Among other talents, Sandro is a trained Reiki Healer and several years ago Lisa designed a web site for his Reiki work. Having not seen hime for some time, there was much to catch up on and the talk continued all afternoon and on into the evening. At some point it became apparent that the only sensible thing to do was to have dinner together and Lisa set to to work on the barbecue. So, for the second day running, we had grilled dinner al fresco with great company.

And so to yesterday evening, when, as guests of our friends (and my sometime colleagues) Kate & Makram, we completed the hat-trick. We cycled over to their place and were immediately plied with Makram's famously wonderful Hummus and other introductory delicacies while Makram cranked up the barbecue to start grilling kebabs. The food was tasty and authentically middle-eastern so Lisa frequently pumped Makram for details of how his culinary effects were achieved. There seems to be something about eating freshly grilled food in the open air that stimulates conversation and brings on a tremendous sense of well being and comradeship. Not until some time after sunset did we finally take our leave and ride home and head for bed ahead of another working week.

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