There was no gardening today, nor any hedge trimming, because we went to an At Home in Dedham. It was very kind of our hostess to invite us, and I have still not discovered why she hosts an annual drinks and nibbles party in February, since I have made discreet enquiries to check that it is not her birthday. It is an inspired idea in any event since February can be a dismal month. The festivities of Christmas were ages ago but spring still feels a long way off. What could be nicer than to chat to people you know and some that you don't while kindly caterers ply you with glasses of fizz and miniature yorkshire puddings with slivers of beef? They were lovely nibbles, but alas mostly too sophisticated for me to try and copy for the music society. I tried making miniature profiteroles once but they didn't puff up.
News of our neighbour's death has spread. A couple from half way to Hadleigh over the county border in Suffolk had heard. It's a small world in the provinces. He was once in business with our late neighbour's son, and she was very fond of our neighbour and said the funeral would indeed be huge. Unfortunately I couldn't help her with the address of his daughter or any of his children.
Full of canapes, champagne and goodwill I didn't feel like venturing out into the cold when we got back, even though there would have been time. People are not At Home for very long, so an hour and three quarters after the party starts the miniature sausages on sticks and neat slices of vegetable fritatta give way to little squares of chocolate brownie as a discreet signal that lunch is ending.
We called into the Co-op on Dedham High Street on our way back to the car in the hope that they would have fruit flavoured yogurt, since the Systems Adminstrator forgot to get any on the last supermarket shop. As the SA said it has to be the poshest Co-op in the country. But they only had giant pots of Yeo Valley strawberry and not the individual servings.
It is forecast to be warmer by the middle of next week, and as today's party was almost the end of my current social run I might finally be able to knuckle down to some serious gardening. It is already practically the middle of February so really there is no time to be lost.