Dining on the patio…

We were invited to dine last evening in the Village of Ashton with long-standing friends. Before our departure we mechanically agreed there was no chance of going home hungry. Nor in retrospect were we mistaken. Indeed our host and chef succeeded beyond even the usual abundance. To my admittedly prosaic imagination it was a singularly tasteful meal which both opened and closed with delectable morsels in faint compounds of fresh herbs – including the blissful mint in the homemade ice cream!

A summertime congregation of a similar nature has occurred many, many times over the past several decades. It is a reunion which never fails to prove agreeable to the first order. Last evening we were further treated to an exceptionally pleasant sunset complete with a balmy breeze in the 30°C temperature. One peculiarity of this particular outing was our observance of “social distancing” by which we cautiously restrained ourselves from close proximity. Finn – the family’s black Labrador – wasn’t as entirely careful.

Shamefully none of us contributed significantly if at all to the management of the various plates and dishes which delighted us all throughout the prolonged and casual meal. In a word, we were exceedingly spoiled! The mollycoddle included an invigorating pre-dinner swim in the pool in the meadow.

Our conversation at table was far from provocative but we dwelled briefly upon some of the more pressing current worldwide social, philosophic and political issues. Interestingly in the exploration of the various subjects we endured the unwitting and entertaining combat between the young and the old.  It amused me to observe (from my viewpoint as a qualified old fogey) that there have been universal and at times uplifting modifications of thought in the past fifty years.

These heady subjects did not however contaminate our lingering frivolity and burgeoning gusto. It was impossible not to succumb to the relaxing spirit amid the sounds, smells and sights of the perfect summer evening. I may even have heard a cicada beckoning the advent of late summer heat.