Glasshouse: 2017


My last Tea Towel Blog was called Jenny Wren and told the story of Liz K’s birthday.  ‘Glasshouse’ is Stage Two of Liz K’s birthday celebrations, not something I want to forget. Liz K’s children wanted her to have a celebration party, something that would be ‘hers’, not just any old party.  There was just one problem (sound familiar?): agreeing a date (sound familiar?).  All her children wanted to be part of the celebrations but parenthood and work commitments meant the first date that could be agreed was in July.  Another opportunity to extend Liz K’s birthday celebrations across several months; better weather would mean people would be able to travel distances more easily.

Liz K lives in an amazing property which she shares with a friend.  They are surrounded by fields so that having the use of a field for parking, camping and a marquee seemed ideal.  Liz K has a lot of friends and family that she keeps in touch with, from across the country.  Although I have known Liz K for 20 years, I am a newcomer amongst her friends; she has friends from school, when she was a young mother, from her various forms of employment; people who share her interests in singing, walking, homeopathy, music and much more.

My friends Gwyn, Pete and Liz M and I had just discovered the excitement of decorating solar light bulbs from Poundland, which hang decoratively in the garden (at that price I am not sure how long they will last but what the heck!).  We decided that, collectively, we would buy, and decorate, ten light bulbs, to be strung up, with some images from her life: a narrow boat (because we had all shared two narrow boat trips with her), a camping scene, walking boots with a compass, musical notes, her birthday number and much more.  We thought she might appreciate this and get some use from it up to the end of summer.

The party started at 3 pm with some singing, followed by jamming, then a cream tea, more music, food…..  The field gave young (and old) children the space to play skittles, play with Frisbies and run around.  The atmosphere was of a traditional Summer Fete and Jamboree.  Very Liz K!  The invitations invited people to come for some, or all, of it; stay for the bits you wanted to.  There was an ever-changing mix of people at the party and especially good was the fact that there were chairs, so you didn’t have to stand, for hours on end, balancing a scone, jam, cream and a cup of tea.  It was delightful.  For me, the best bit was John walking, in the required slow march, across the field from his car, playing the bagpipes and ending with Happy Birthday.  Although her birthday was four months ago, the marquee was decorated with the Birthday cards she had already received.

Liz and I used the trip south of where we live to go and visit her Dad, in the Care Home; he enjoys seeing people in the morning best.  We visited Lyn and Rob to catch up on their holiday adventures in Scotland (and be surprised by the wonderful Arran Cheese, specialist honey and some oat cakes).  We went to Canons Ashby for lunch.  I’d been there before and knew they didn’t have a tea towel and then on to Liz K’s.  However, Canons Ashby DID have a tea towel, not one relating particularly to this property but one  designed by Dee Hardwicke, inspired by some of the best loved glasshouses looked after by the National Trust.  It is an excellent design for that purpose, light, bright, with climbing stems, clematis; you could feel as if you were in one of the NT glasshouses.  A perfect tea towel, to recall a lovely day and the culmination of Liz K’s birthday celebrations. As I look at it I will be thinking, ‘Can’t wait for Liz K’s next Big 0’.  Great Day Liz (K).


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