It was, indeed, a good evening. Roro (this is Squiffany's name for him and I think it rather suits) had volunteered to cook a beef curry. He had been given a new recipe and some particularly splendid curry powder and wanted to try it out. I offered to cook a cauliflower and potato dish (phool gobi aur aloo ki bhaji, if that means more to you), which has lots of cumin in it. We had done the preparation and the beef was cooking when the family dropped by and so had time to spare.
We'd have spared the time anyway. Everything is dropped for Squiffany and Pugsley.
It won't, of course, all go as smoothly as this. But it is a lovely introduction for them to life as a family of four. Al has gone back to work now. This should be his half day - as he works all day every Saturday he sticks to the tradition of an early closing day midweek - but he will stay open later today. The shop is busy this week for half term. He sold lots of pumpkins yesterday - not surprising, he's undercutting the local supermarket and, he's been told, Tesco too. It's good that parents are bringing the children in to buy them fruit instead of sweets - there has been a visible change in attitude in the last couple of years. People are making an effort to eat healthier; I'm not sure that this will show much effect healthwise for a while, but it is a start. They are also trying hard to cut down on waste, returning bags for reuse or bringing their own. They refuse paper bags too if possible.
A friend is coming round for dinner tonight. He will help us with the sale on Friday (it's a family and friends business) and then he's off to New Zealand on Sunday. His daughter and son-in-law moved there a few years ago and, having visited a few times, he and his wife love the country too - she went out a month or so back. They have now gained residency and spend about half the year in each hemisphere, having sold their family house here and bought a flat instead. In the long run (they both have a mother to think of) they will spend more of the year over there.
I will make a roast pumpkin soup, braised shoulder of lamb in tomato, onion and carrot, pommes boulangère and whatever vegetables look nicest, and pineapple, which I probably won't do much to. There are some gorgeous pineapples around and there's no need to do anything elaborate. I may spoon some passion fruit onto it. I may even make a syllabub, but I'm not promising anything.