Pets-R-Us

Another action packed Sunday!  For me it started at 5.30am when I started preparing a lunch for ten guests.  I had picked a pound of black currents and the same of red currents, and decided to use them up as a fresh summer dessert, making two little purees and then filling champagne glasses with stripes of red and white. I mixed yoghurt and cream to prevent it being too cloying, and it was a success for once!

I then adapted a recipe from the Evening Standard paper I’d picked up for free in London this week, which had been for guinea- fowl and fennel. Well, mine was for chicken, and only one fennel bulb, which was all David could find, but butternut squash, onions, satsumas, carrots and red peppers as a carpet to roast two birds on, with loads of herbs and lemons in the middle. It fed ten of us in the end easily, with loads of new potatoes and salads picked five minutes before eating!  Easy way to entertain really. The guests included our preacher for the morning, Richenda Leigh, Roger the guest organist, and six others, including my mother.

After this dawn patrol to get the food prep out of the way, I then had to tank off to a choir practice for the service.  I had suggested we sang Elgar’s Ave Verum which is a favourite of mine, and so  Joe taught it to the others in ten minutes and we sang it, along with the Karl Jenkins Benedicite, and a few other short pieces while people took communion.

Straight out of church to put the chickens in the oven, and entertain our visitors, and then in the afternoon at 4pm, we had a pets service, which produced a great collection of dogs, two tortoises, two guinea pigs, some stick insects, and a shetland pony!  I took Pip, who was transfixed by a puppet show which Phil Moncur, the Diocesan Director of education, did with two large hand-puppet cheeky crows.  These birds sang a hilarious song called “I’ve lost my sheep!” , aimed at four year olds, so Pip fitted in. He quivered with excitement, and anxiety I think, about this lost sheep, who finally appeared on the pulpit lectern.  Pip is a remarkably observant dog, but worries a lot about toy animals. He can’t seem to tell the difference from the real thing, especially when they sing or move. All the animals received a blessing, including two twelve week old labrador pups, for whom their owner told me it was their first public outing. All in all, a lovely little service, organised by Hazel, the school head teacher, and no body or animal bit or quarrelled with each other.  I think it was probably the first time a pony has come into Edensor Church!

About mrsgarnettsgarden

After a life in International Development where I have seen many resililent women farmers bring abundance out of almost nothing, I'm now more often at home in Derbyshire with my husband David, a retired Archdeacon who runs the churches on the Chatsworth estate. Our garden and my allotment are the setting for a little diary of plants and pottering, aided and abetted by our dogs, Spaniel jess, and Collie, Pip. David is a hen fanatic so the chicken runs encroach ever nearer the house. I work freelance as an assessor for Comic Relief International grants, and also run a little not for profit agency to help African women get going in business, called "Lasting Solutions."
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