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14 July 2003

Went down to Lavenham in Suffolk for the weekend, for the wedding of my old friend Nick and slightly less old friend Lucy - and I went grumbling and reluctant, because I was missing a party with much newer friends up here, and it was a rotten long way to go, five hours' drive and well outside my comfort-zone, and it was so isolated a village that we kept getting warning e-mails about no cashpoints for miles around and if you want to eat you have to book in advance, and so on and so forth, and I just couldn't see where the fun was going to come from. What are they for, I thought, old friends? They leave town and you hardly see them from one year's end to the next, so you form different friendships and move in different circles; and then they announce they're getting married and expect you to be there, tho' it means giving up time and money and fun at home, and of course you do go because they are old friends and they do therefore have priority and I couldn't for the life of me see why...

And so there I am being driven down with my old friend Simon, and we don't get to spend half enough time together these days, so five hours of just the two of us was a rare treat; and Lavenham when we got there is picture-postcard perfect, the sort of place you see on TV and never really get to visit. And the guest-house where we're staying is full of other friends, and so is the pub, and we get happily blasted on Friday night. And the Saturday weather is perfect, one of those illusory summer days that don't actually exist except in myth and memory; and Simon and I visit his sister who I haven't seen in fifteen years or so, and she's living in one of the nicest houses I've ever set foot inside; and then we race back for the wedding, in one of the most beautiful mediaeval craft-halls etc etc; and then we ducked out of the worst of the photo-mania and slipped ahead to the reception restaurant to swallow a gin or two before the rest caught us up, and we had an extremely good lunch and no speeches; and then Simon and I went for a long walk in the corn, before we went back for more drinking...

And so on and so forth, and you get the picture: it was a magic weekend from start to finish and clearly this is what they are for, these old friends and these weekends away, they are for pure and unadulterated pleasure, which is fine by me.

And another measure of pleasure: tonight I made a pasta sauce with my own broad-leafed sorrel, my own chillies, my own parsley and my own spring onions, which were so fresh and sweet I had no doubt about using the whole plant from the buried white to the tip o' the green, the one in the sauce and the other like chives scattered over. Alas that I couldn't fish my own prawns and cream my own cow, or indeed grind my own durum wheat, but hey. We take what we can get.

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© Chaz Brenchley 2003
Reproduced here by permission of Chaz Brenchley, who asserts his moral right to be identified as the author of this work.