Yesterday the sun shined on London when the BBC weather prophets were predicting rain and so in celebration I made a scrumptious milkshake for lunch.
Milkshakes remind me of birthday treats. As a child my father would take me into Birmingham city centre where I would choose a present from the WH Smith store. One year I wanted a book of children’s poetry, another year somewhat bizarrely a recording of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. I think I was trying to impress a music teacher I was particularly fond of at the time.
Following the present buying, he would take me to the restaurant above The Windsor pub on Cannon Street and I would be deposited into the care of the waitress while he departed downstairs to the bar for a pint. Today, that would result in a social services review but as a young girl it was a wonderful experience to choose what I wanted from the menu and to eat it as I pleased with no adult interference.
I never felt abandoned being left with only the waitress and various condiment bottles for company while my father drank Guinness and cracked jokes with his fellow Irishmen. It was an adventure, the waitress would pay me more attention than her other customers and during the hour either my father or one of his friends would pop up to check on me and steal a chip as I shooed them away.
The best thing about my birthday meal was the opportunity to order a milkshake, this was an exotic drink at the time as Nesquik had not yet hit the shelves of Chelmsley Wood’s supermarkets. All I knew was that The Windsor’s strawberry flavour shake was sweet enough to melt my teeth and pink enough to make me feel very grand when slurping it through a straw. Although I have always eaten my food far too quickly, chewing being an annoying obstacle to me filling my stomach, I remember taking my time over the shake, hoping to prolong the inevitable ending chasing pale pink froth around the bottom of the glass.
And straws were the inspiration for me blending a punnet of English strawberries with plain yogurt and milk yesterday to be slurped in the afternoon sunshine. I also added a banana for extra thickness.
I had occasion to visit Teddington recently and discovered a fantastic cook shop called Kitchen Sync on the high street. I used to be a girl who could never resist a new pair of shoes, which is how I ended up with 170 pairs. These days it’s baking and cook ware that tops my accessories list. Along with purchasing cupcake cases I picked up these retro-style paper straws.