Sunday, 18 March 2012

1960s heyday

I’m in North Wales. It’s Nathan’s niece’s 20th birthday, and Mother’s day, which I’m reliably told should always be known as Mothering Sunday to include those who are mothers in all but name.

The journey over here seemed to take forever, and not just because I was driving. There’s that section of the M1 which seems to have moved slightly further north every time I travel on the motorway which restricts cars to 50 miles per hour. It lasts forever, and no one ever seems to be doing any work on it. We stopped at Watford Gap; a soulless place. I like it less with every ridiculous face lift it gets. I wish I’d seen the place in its 1960s heyday. If you watch the classic film Charlie Bubbles, there are sequences shot at Newport Pagnell services, and it looks atmospheric, glamorous and intriguing. When the service stations on the M1 first opened, the restaurants had full waitress service. People from Northamptonshire used to drive there for a fancy meal, or a cup of tea in the middle of the night – unheard of in those days.

We had lunch in The Castle; a pub on the A41 outside Market Drayton which does fabulous home-cooked food. I had a vegetarian lasagne and the biggest pudding in the world. Celia’s Ron paid for the lot, which was hugely generous, as about 8 of us were eating. He’s a good man, that man. There was a table covered in little potted primroses by the door and any mother who passed through the pub was encouraged to take one home with them.
I found out today that the A41 goes all the way from Marble Arch to Birkenhead. That's a long way for a road very few people have heard of!
We went back to Nathan’s sister’s house in Penley where I ate a dry roasted peanut and pickled onion sandwich for the first time since I was about 13 years old. Don’t knock it till you try it. I’d forgotten quite how good they taste – although they’re almost impossible to eat daintily.

I got my dates muddled up last night because I posted my blog after midnight. Yesterday’s Pepys news was actually meant for today. Fortunately, the 17th March 1662 was not an epic day for Pepys. He worked, he went to The Exchange to see what was going on in the world, came home for his supper and read before bed. No wonder I forgot to read the entry!

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