I thought I might have time to slip out to Kenwood House on Thursday morning. As it was I found myself so engrossed with getting the house ready for the return of the Partridge and various members of her family, that I did not even have a chance to have a shower and put on some clean clothes until just before I dished up the evening meal.
I had made three Finnish loaves flavoured with cardamom, which I served with a pot of tea when the Partridge arrived, weighed down with luggage but grateful to be finally back at the family home. They arrived earlier than I had expected. It seems their luggage was already waiting for them on the carousel at the terminal and they were waived through passport control. Moreover, I had arranged for a taxi to be waiting for them outside the airport, ready to whisk them back to Highgate.
I was going to place a chicken on a bed of sliced carrots, onions, fresh sage leaves and water in a roasting tin and covered with a dome-shaped roasting tin before placing in a hot oven to cook. When I have done this in the past, the chicken has remained succulent but still turned a golden brown without the need for me to baste it or add any oil to the bird. I also wanted to roast some potatoes, sprinkled with salt and chopped rosemary in a separate roasting tin. I had made a Pavlova case the night before, which I planned to fill with whipped cream infused with Framboise and sliced strawberries, marinated in the same liqueur . The Children’s Novelist (CN) said she had to hurry home after we had had coffee and one of the freshly baked Finnish loaves in the garden, as she had a lot to chores to catch up with at home. In the event, her car would not start and by the time a car mechanic had been summoned from the local garage, she timidly asked if she might partake in our supper after all. Other than roast potatoes, there was plenty to go around and she was also able to help herself to a second helping of my strawberry Pavlova.
The family had bought me back plentiful supplies of German chocolate to pacify the wrath of the household god (dess). when the flights go on again all over the worldThey also gave me an exquisitely enamelled photograph frame containing the image of a cheerful looking early 20th century Prussian princess which could be replaced with one of my own choosing. The CN thought she could spot a distinct resemblance to myself. I said the likeliness would be even more striking if I too were wearing my imperial diadem and diamond necklace. I have now decided that the princess stays. Blood is thicker than water after all.
Their family home in Highgate was always designed for a large household. It was wonderful to have it filled with so many people again. Long may they continue to live in it and invite me to share its pleasures with them from time to time.