June 16 – Happy 60th birthday to Gillian

Morris Dancers and A Wonderful Treat from Rachael

Hello from 1066 – A Medieval Mosaic

We had a slow start at the exhibition. Mike gave me a couple of lovely books about St Albans Cathedral plus one about Matthew Paris for my birthday. We have found a way of shipping stuff home to New Zealand which is a lot less expensive than posting so we don’t have to be quite so careful about books now. At lunchtime, we walked into town to have a look at the stalls at the village market and discovered that there was a folk festival of morris dancers in the street. It was spectacular to watch and I especially liked the ones with painted faces dressed in black with purple and green ribbons hanging from their cloaks. Their dancing was quite vigorous with some yelling and banging of sticks, I believe they are called “tattercoats”. So much fun to watch. There was also a group of Swedish ladies dancing folk dances too. After this entertainment, we had lunch in the Vintry garden in the sun. Had a lovely piece of white chocolate cheesecake for lunch as a treat, it was very light and creamy.

When we arrived back Fred and Margaret Waghorn from Whatlington, near Battle were waiting for us. They have been to Woodbridge this last week and detoured to come to see our exhibition. Fred has various theories about where the Battle of Hastings actually took place especially the Malfosse incident. More recently he has been able to get metal detectorists to go over the land where he believes the Malfosse took place and they are starting to make some interesting finds though not from the Battle of Hastings yet. There were more visitors in the afternoon and we had lots of interesting discussions. We left at 3.30 and walked home through the park.

Rachael arrived just after 6 with a lovely bunch of flowers for which we found a nice vase and placed them on the dining table. After catching up on some of her news we wandered up to the town to have dinner at Loch Fyne, a lovely fish restaurant. As we entered the restaurant we realised that tomorrow is Father’s Day and commented on it. The meal was lovely and we had a starter and a main. I had a Loch Fyne fish soup for starters and a seafood grill with Scottish salmon, king scallop, bream, king prawns, squid, sautéed heritage potatoes, hollandaise sauce and lobster butter for mains. Mike had a prawn cocktail for starters and yellowfin tuna steak for mains and Rachael had grilled Scottish king scallops for starters and pan-fried hake fillet for mains. We had a lovely evening with lots of nice conservation and good food.

Rachael gave me a present of an Ancestry DNA test which is just awesome. It will be interesting to see how much Viking/Norman ancestry there is in my past. Maybe I am related to William the Conqueror. Rachael has been having a lovely time gilding an elephant not too far from here and also has lots of other wonderful jobs coming up so we had lots to talk about.

I was not the only person to be celebrating a birthday as we heard at least two other groups celebrating. At one stage Rachael disappeared and then returned sometime later and we didn’t think anything of it. When we had finished our meals our attentive waiter arrived with dessert menus but that was just a decoy as Rachael had given them a chocolate cake with a candle on top. So glad they didn’t try putting 60 on it! It was such a nice surprise and Rachael had arranged the whole evening beautifully. Later in the evening she delved down into her bag again and brought out a Fathers Day card and present for Mike too. She hadn’t missed a detail!

After dinner, we walked home again and talked for a little while more before heading to bed. What a lovely day I have had! Here’s to being 60!