To Hel and Back :: Edit your Template To Hel and Back: May 2003

Sunday, May 25, 2003

A letter to the in laws

I write this on the eve of the Eurovision Song Contest, which if you have been following from the other side of the world, will be hosted by last year’s winners – Latvia. Adrian is very excited and is practising his cheesy dancing in anticipation.

Today is the first of a three day weekend. Adrian is currently playing tunes on his belly while he makes lunch and cleans the lenses of his new scuba goggles with toothpaste.

We are having a very relaxed weekend because we are off to Greece soon (hence the scuba goggles). Last weekend we were in Paris – as you know, thank you for your messages and who chose that card!!! – and literally ate our way through the weekend.

It started with a champagne breakfast at 7am and a lot of pastries and fruit as we took the Eurostar to Paris. It was Adrian’s first time on the train – I’m a bit of a train fan so I was very excited to be taking him on the journey under the Channel. The train chugs slowly on the first hour and half through the UK and then whizzes through from Calais to Paris for roughly the same amount of time. Because of the strict rules of gourmet in France we had to eat almost as soon as we got there because restaurants serve at specific times.

We ploughed our way through some wonderful duck breast and pork – the kind of food we don’t normally eat but if someone else cooks a nice portion very well is absolutely sumptuous.

We were very reserved and had only two courses in anticipation of the night ahead where Adrian has booked me into a very French restaurant for a birthday dinner. This might sound like a simple yet romantic gesture but believe me I am not an easy women to please! My ideal French restaurant should be open at obscure hours without a reservation system comprehensible to foreigners. It should look non descript from the outside and inside would be warm, with yellowed walls and wood fixtures. The menu should be short and simple, whatever is fresh this week and the chef feels like cooking. The dessert should be irresistible and the wine list comprehensive. Despite such a tall order, Adrian found such a place and the four course dinner that followed was unbelievable. The chef prepared a menu that I would never choose but was delicious and in such perfect quantities and timing that I didn’t feel too crook after polishing the lot off with wine.

If that wasn’t enough food lunch the next day was at a wonderful turn of the century hall where the waiters were a blur of black suit and white apron, where tables were shared with strangers and the food was quick and hearty grills and salad. Adrian braved the snails and managed to swallow four of the bigger ones before calling it at an end. They are particurlay hard to digest because of hteir rubbery texture. He was also god enough not to flick one across the room using the special snail holding instrument.

It was a birthday fit for a king. A very fat king!

Also as part of my month long birthday celebrations we took the car and some bikes to Champagne in France. My idea was we would sample the region’s drink and use the bikes to get us from one tasting house to the next – avoid the need to stay sober! Very well in theory but when after two glasses of vintage Moet I tried to get on Adrian’s bicycle rather than my own lady size bike, he wasn’t sure it was such a good idea!

At this point, I’d like to blame whichever of you instilled in your son the need to be competitive and co-ordinated at all things physical. I thought we were meandering through back roads of famous vineyards. Adrian however thought we were in the tour de France and that any slack pace would see us robbed of a Personal Best. After a party laden breakfast, a three course lunch and several glasses of champagne, both the cycling and Adrian’s enthusiasm began to effect my sense of humour, and it was a big bottom lip and a very red face that eventually made it to the village of Hautvillers – the birth place of Dom Perignon.

So that’s been our fortnight, I’ll end it here so I can send this before we get to Greece and we owe you another lot of letters.