Once again Rupert arrived by bicycle, this time from Ipswich, and in December dusk. After a swift half at the Wenhaston Star, we dined on light veg stir fry, easy in each others company. We’d known each other for over 20 years, and the dance was seamless to pick up after a gap in which Rupert had married, separated and bought up 2 bright boys. Gamely, he came painting the van in the wood the next day, equipping himself with shiny black trousers from the charity shop. We took all the day light the short day gave completing the yellow and red, listening to Radio 4 and each other.
Short daylight allowed for a long evening, in which I collected Bob while Rupert cooked the most delicious pheasant (2) in a base of red wine, soya and star anise. Leeks were a tad gritty, but the lemon juice cleared the way. Off to Thursday book club. Chris did raise a point of order, are these two additions going to be regulars? Who knows. Bob only slightly out of order. Fair Stood the Wind for France got a fair bashing as a light weight properganda novel although voted 5 by Jon and I’d enjoyed the full Sunday days read. All three boys (Chris, Rupert Bob) came back afterwards, and got a taste of Chris’s world view (pessimistic and conspiratorial) before he beat a hasty retreat into the dark back to Yoxford.
As a reward for our modest work, we took a good walk on Friday, in the landscape around Bob, upper Syleham, down to the Waveney River, to Syleham church, which rests peacefully down a grassy track away from the village, in the water meadows amongst alder and willow. A church more beautiful on the outside than in, with it’s setting, round tower, rough flint.
Over just harvested sugar beat fields, watching the machinations of the beat separator, we made our way back to Bob’s for cuppa and off to Wingfield to dive into the precarious fortunes of the de la Pole family, who’s men were mostly called Michael, and women Katherine. Their effigies in the church provided clues for Rupert the intelligent detective. They had a connection to Hull, one of the Katherine’s coming from a rich textile family up there.
Risotto with the remainder of pheasant, the rice cooked in the rich stock (no celery) , the best I have ever tasted. A swift dally down to the Cut for the volunteers party.
Our lunch at the East Coast Cafe, turned into a 12 bottle wine tasting, (for the every day inexpensive spectrum), Rupert the Master of Wine, rising to the occasion and I happy to learn. Gemma, more relaxed than I have seen her before, joined us, Edward too, for his last tasting, and Andrew. We all came down on a Spanish white and red. Thus so easily distracted we became late: Rupert gave up the bicycle method, and we cut too fine the motoring (we’d left the paniers at Holton), however Rupert got on the following train from Ipswich. Long driving.
Put feet up and watched the final episode of The Bridge, with christmas cards on the table to make a late start on, waiting for the morrow.