After reading one of her lifestyle magazines, my wife exclaimed:
‘Cocktails! In the house. No babysitter to pay, no taxi fares. Cocktails!’
A mint patch has been cultivated in the garden and the new drinks cabinet has been stocked.
‘There’s plenty of mint for mojitos and Morten’s bringing the ingredients for a few other recipes. Harriet tells me he’s a wizard with a blender.’
Harriet and Morten are newly coupled. Harriet and Maude met at a mothering group when Harriet was still married to Fred. From very early on Harriet talked about leaving Fred. I took this with a pinch of salt – Maude talks about leaving me on a daily basis.
Then Harriet left Fred and took her daughter, Bronwen, back to The Lakes.
Arrangements were made with Fred and then Morten arrived on the scene – on a very large motorbike. With the speed of a superhero in a phone booth, Harriet donned leathers and straddled Morten’s impressive engine as often as childcare allowed.
Kenny and Simone were also invited for cocktails. Kenny too has a motorbike, but it didn’t seem worthwhile to get Simone into leather for the trip – they only live 2 doors away.
Morten took control of the cocktail preparation and maintained a steady flow of mojitos and strawberry daquiries. Maude and I were happy to delegate and distribute the drinks to our guests on the terrace. The terrace overlooks our kitchen garden. As I arrived with a tray of drinks I noticed Kenny and Simone peering over the fence into the raised vegetable beds.
‘I see your courgettes have failed,’ observed Simone with a faux pained expression.
‘Not in the least,’ I replied. ‘I chose a miniature variety this year, so that Aurora could pick them easily.’
Simone smiled an indulgent smile and reached for her phone.
‘We went for a giant variety’, she said as she flashed an image of Kenny posing with a courgette the size of a toddler.
Kenny is a former soldier. He and Simone share a penchant for tattoos.
‘Simone’s getting a new one on Tuesday – right across her back. A dragon.’
Kenny and I were in the kitchen with Harriet. Harriet was thrilled at all the tattoo talk – she and Morten were contemplating some body art expressing their newfound love in østnorsk.
‘Only problem is‘, continued Kenny, ’she can’t decide what to put in the dragon’s hands. I was thinking Samurai sword in one and a red rose in the other – to symbolise the opposing sides of her personality.’
Thankfully Simone was out of earshot. I could see that she and Maude were stood looking into my vegetable plot with the sombre expressions of funeral-goers looking into a grave. I tried to help Kenny with his quandary.
‘Not sure she would go for that, Ken. The dragon, I believe, already symbolises strength. I’d suggest a design that shows that strength coupled with horticultural skill: dragon proudly holding courgettes of garden fete-winning dimensions.’