Birthday Boy. 28th June

Rembrandt Gardens

Back in February our decision to head to London was so that we could meet with family, it was also so that we could be around for my brother Andrew’s birthday, his 60th birthday. Hence the mission to reach our booked mooring.

Birthday balloons

Mick was sent off this morning to find the last part of our present. I’d decided to get him a present for every decade of his life and I was missing one, some Kendal Mint Cake was needed. Whilst I tried to finish off bits of work Mick hunted through outdoor type shops and managed to find a minty assortment. The presents were now complete.

With a rucksack full of goodies and a bag filled with birthday cake we headed off to catch the bus. When we reached the bus stop I suddenly realised that I was missing the very important envelope with the icing recipe on it so that I could finish off the cake when we got to Hackney. Mick headed back to Oleanna to collect it whilst 4 number 18 buses came and went. Oh well, we’d get there in the end.

Getting ready to eat

The icing went on the cake as soon as we arrived, it has to be simmered then poured over the cake to set and carrying it across London on a bus might have been a very messy thing to do.

Presents time. So what did I get my brother?

A box of matches, stems from a present from Paddington Bear when I was about six. The Kendal Mint Cake assortment. A Bottle of T, Timothy Taylors Landlord. A Bottle of Punt e Mes Vermouth. A pair of hand knitted socks, made by myself. Then a bowl, but not just any bowl.


Last Friday on our way over to Hackney we’d had to call into an old friends. Ben Davies was a couple of years above me at school. He is a cellist, cello tutor and ceramicist. Last year during lockdown he and his neighbour built themselves semi-detached studios in their gardens, wonderful light rooms. Ben has enough space to have a quartet play alongside his two kilns, a small office space and display area.

On display

Since having his studio, and having the lack of concerts to play in he has increased the amount of time he spends making his pots. Using different colours of clay, he uses layers and hand builds, fires then sands back, then fires them again creating wonderful touchy feely pots with an organic feel and look to them. Several months ago I’d decided that if I could afford it I’d buy one for Andrew. The selection process took a while, sifting through photographs, then the decision was made, a small bowl made in porcelain in white, black and blue.

Unfortunately I forgot to take a photo of the actual bowl, it’s a little bit like one of the ones above. It really is a lovely object and especially nice that Andrew knows Ben.

Ben with one of his pots

We had a lovely meal of roast pork, dauphinoise potatoes and various salads, plenty of wine and conversation.

The boys serving

The cake come out and with candles lit, plus a rocket, we all sang Happy Birthday to Andrew.

A quiet birthday for him, but so lovely that we’d made it to London and were able to be part of his day.

0 locks, 0 miles, 3 buses, 2 tubes, 6 presents, 1 bowl, 1 brother, 60!!! How did that happen!?

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