Pranzo di Compleanno
My birthday , four days after the longest day lends itself to party. My fortieth went on till dawn at the Thames Rowing Club, my fiftieth was a coach load of friends to the Salisbury Races, my sixtieth a big walking party on the South Downs followed by an endless pub lunch, for the seventieth 50 walked along the tow path to the Bulls Head at Barnes. Somewhere in between trekking in the Andes, Provence and picnicking in Richmond Park saw me celebrate another year older and still no debt.
This year was our third in Umbria. Hot days, walking talking, eating drinking and now a choice of three pools. Bliss it was to be alive but to be seventy one was (well nearly) very heaven. The Hotel Bramante (see link)just outside walled, hill top Todi the venue,the guests David and Nina from Dorset and Wim and Tilly from Hilversum,Holland. They say when it comes to wine the venue is as important as the vintage. Here was a venue for the gods.
Slim hipped waiters, cool local wine, secondi et primo courses to make you hope the meal will never end. But these were not the main attraction. The terraced one time monastery looked over South Umbria rolling with the Tiber towards Ovietto. The afternoon was hot and still and the endless tableau barely twitched all afternoon. Tidy farms, woods and fields, the odd castle reminding of a more war like past. Hill top, walled towns looked down at respectful intervals. These woods and fields had kept their promise, and we had to keep ours which was to salute the day,live the moment.
And so we ate.And so we drank. Talked and laughed, This was not some Saxon drunk fest,but a golden afternoon slipping gently on,and on.
The Fangens had brought gifts from Barcelona,the Dutch a bottle of fizz,the hotel gave a candle and forgot one of the bottles from the bill. As we left we saw a kestrel hover. The kingdom of daylight’s dauphin had given me one last present. The day had o’er brimmed my clammy cell. Earlier the grand daughter had sung Happy Birthday on the iphone.Somehow we keep going.
It means Birthday Lunch.