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Thursday, 9 February 2012

Valentines Day, Spring and on being Veggie Chef at West Dean College

Nothing much to do with Arundel.

Nothing to do with Antiques.

Just a few bunches of flowers to remind us that Spring isn't too far around the corner

Or Valentine's Day, for that matter.

Oh!  now that does remind me......

My Nass, is, although he would tell you otherwise, a true romantic.

Not that we always celebrate Valentines, but some years we do.

On one occasion, our favourite restaurant, 
Paperdelle's, was completely booked solid 

The restaurant is now owned by Clive, 
Bruno's son, and has spread 
beautifully to provide 
Osteria downstairs.

In those days, it was just the upstairs.

Beautiful,very Italian, fairly small, gorgeously intimate,
and it booked up very quickly.

On this special evening,
Nass had a quiet word with Bruno, 
who was a friend of his.

They lugged a small table down into the middle of the High Street, 
and parked it next to the bench right in the middle.

There we sat, complete with candles, wine, and waitress.
Wrapped up against the cold, of course.

Never the less,
a pretty memorable evening hey?

 All these photos, I took at Chelsea Flower show.
That's why the flowers look so absolutely perfect
I would like to say they were all from my garden , but they aren't.

If you are a visitor to the UK, its well worth trying to go.
Well, if you are not a visitor, it's still worth going.

Tickets ain't cheap.
Queues are extraordinarily long.
The crowds will jostle you,
your feet will ache...

But, the ambience of the place.
The ideas you will go home with.
The memories of an idyllic day, in a very English setting.

Oh! I can taste the Pimms already........... 

Now, you see, I have the memory buzzing.

One other Valentines day, 
I was working as a vegetarian chef 
at West Dean College.

Ever been?

Actually, all irrelevant to the story, 
but they have the most beautiful Victorian Gardens there.

I used to work with Eric, the head chef, 
and we would regularly trundle over to the gardens, early in the mornings, 
and pick produce that would go in to my veggie dish of the day.

  I know I am going off on tangents, 
but humour me, if you have time
 and just for sheer interest sake, 
check out their site.

Salvador Dali was a regular visitor 
when it was owned by
Edward James, 
who sponsored both Dali and the artist Magritte.

You will still see paintings in the house and 
even a Dali plastic tree in the grounds

It's the most wonderful place to visit, or study, or work.

Anyway, the reason I mentioned it is the long hours, 
split shifts,
long drive,
twice a day,
 so I would return home, 
late and extremely tired.

On this particular Valentine's evening,
Nass had prepared a meal  ready for
when I arrived home.

Well, it smelled so.
The table was laid ready,
my son Jay was ready to wait on table.

I was exhausted, but when Nass suggested going for a drink before dinner, 
 I thought I should, as he had gone to so much trouble.

He suggested going to see Bruno, at Paperdelles, for a glass of vino.

I said they would be busy and booked solid.
No...he was determined.
So..we went and he suggested we sat in the corner table, with a 
 sign on it.

"We can't sit there, its reserved"

" Yes we can, I reserved it"

"Well, what about the dinner at home?"

"I just fried onions to make it smell"

The aperitif was ordered and arrived, brought by a chuckling Bruno.

Then, I noticed in the middle of the table a beautiful, small, heart shaped box.
On opening it, there were hand made chocolates, inside.

Now, I KNOW what you are thinking,
because I thought the same!

After dinner, I munched my way through ALL those choccies, 
which is something I NEVER do.
No, really, I am a one at a time ..savour it..person

Not a ring in sight!
Nass laughed like a drain,
(whatever that means)

" You thought there was a ring in there"

" No, I didn't"

We DID eventually get engaged.

Just not that night.
Apart from that and the feeling of nausea after all those chocolates,
it was the perfect
Valentines Night out.

I hope you have a wonderful Valentines 
and a lovely day today.
Whatever you are up to.

SPRING AND SUMMER...Just around the corner