The run up to Christmas is always a busy time of year for many people, but in our house especially so, with three out of the four of us having birthdays from mid November onwards. Of particular significance this year is my middle daughter who recently turned 18.
Happy birthday Lizzie!
We had a fabulous celebration – family and friends met in the local pub so Lizzie could buy them her first (legal!) drink then went back to ours for a bite to eat and to continue the celebrations. Her big sister baked an amazing chocolate birthday cake in the shape of a guitar, in recognition of one of Lizzie’s many talents. (In fact, my eldest daughter has her own talents, apart from cake making, which can be seen at her Dead to Me boutique!)
The occasion also meant sharing a bit of a treat we have been waiting almost 18 years to indulge in.
When Elizabeth Maura was baptised, she was given a gift of three bottles of vintage ruby port by a couple of her Dad’s friends, ones that we hoped would stand the test of time and mature with age.
So, under the stairs for the past (almost) 18 years have been laid two bottles of Croft and one bottle of Feuerheerd, both a 1985 vintage, the year Lizzie was born. For the occasion, we bought a special wine decanting funnel, with a sieve and some muslin, with the added intention of documenting the momentous event in pictures.
But like so many things in life, it didn’t quite go to plan!
A call earlier in the day from my youngest’s school following a crack to the head while rushing out of the last lesson, meant that I spent the early part of the evening escorting my blood covered son first to our GP surgery and then to the local Accident and Emergency department at St George’s Hospital in Tooting. To be honest, I wouldn’t normally opt for A&E, which is why I went to see the GP nurse first, but all she was able to do was wind a bandage round his head and suggest I take him to the hospital, to be on the safe side! And while I was expecting a long wait and the possibility of missing the evening’s celebrations, I was pleasantly impressed by the service we received, and the fact he is a youngster meant we were triaged in the children’s A&E straight away. The treatment he received was first class and thorough too, having lots of tests for any signs of brain damage before having his head wound glued. The NHS at it’s best in my opinion. The only downside for him was not being able to play sport for a week while the glue dried, not to mention being banned from washing his hair!
So while I was away on ambulance duty, my husband set about decanting the port – we chose one of the two Croft bottles, and by all accounts it went pretty well, apart from the cork disintegrating and the bottle having its fair share of sludge! It was eventually left in a decanter to settle. Sadly, no photographs to record the event.
Finally arriving late to the pub to join the others, we headed home, ordered far too much pizza, before embarking on the port tasting ritual. And actually, it was rather good!
Quite delicious and perfectly accompanied by a variety of cheese and biscuits, the port was soft, smooth, rich and fruity, in a subtle and mature way.
I’d like to think those attributes apply similarly to Lizzie, either now or in the future and we will see how that pans out in three years time when we sample the next bottle as Lizzie turns 21.
But for now the celebrations are over and it’s time for Lizzie to knuckle down to some serious study and, with our support, help her achieve the much needed A level grades to obtain her University place of choice. And therein lies another tale…..