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Oct 28, 2014

Keeping up with the Rowlands – Part 1


Well, you can imagine just how thrilled the family is to find out that Susie and David have got engaged.  At long last love has found a way…which also means that the headstrong and not always sensible Susie is finally out of her romantic silly period with Jonathan and has found a nice, decent man who really loves her.

Peter and Annabelle want to throw a fabulous party to celebrate the couple’s engagement, but David is not so sure that a lavish party would be appropriate, as Susie’s finances have been dreadful recently.

We join them now as they are discussing how to handle the situation…


“Nonsense,” said Peter grumbling over his cigar after their celebration dinner.  “This is cause for a proper party; a big one.  A bit late perhaps, but that doesn’t matter.”

“Peter, I really appreciate the dinner we’ve just had and the wonderful family lunch you gave us after we came back from France, but I do think a big party might be a bit over the top,” said David.

“Parties can never be over the top,” snorted Susie, “and particularly not if Daddy’s paying for it.  Surely you don’t want us to pay for this ourselves, do you David?”

David shot Susie a stern glance, then turned his attention back to Peter.  “In all honesty I would much rather we had an informal party where everyone can relax, and it’s only right that Susie and I should pay for it.” 

“Nonsense, David.  We’re her parents and we’re delighted to welcome you into the family.  I shall pay for the party.”

“With the greatest respect, Peter, I should like us to make a substantial contribution towards the cost,” David replied, looking at Peter.

Peter was about to refuse, but Annabelle’s elegant high-heeled shoe prodded his ankle just in time.  “Why not, David?” she said.  “That seems like the perfect arrangement.”

Peter thought for a moment.  “Well, that seems a very fair proposition, David.  What a generous chap you are.  Susie, I hope you appreciate how lucky you are.”

Susie smiled at her father and touched him affectionately on the arm.  “I know, Daddy.  You’re right.  As usual.”

Annabelle was pleased that everyone was in agreement.  “We could just have a drinks party with some delicious canapés?”

“Or a damned good rib of prime beef with some decent claret,” Peter added with a chuckle.

“Oh come on Daddy, we can do something more interesting than that.”  Susie thought for a moment, then jumped to her feet, laughed and said, “I know.  It’s Bonfire Night soon.  Let’s have a Bonfire Party.”

“Great idea, darling!”  David grinned at his fiancée, pressed some buttons on his mobile phone and peered at the screen.  “Why don’t we have it the Saturday before Bonfire Night?” I know a man in Chipping Norton who specialises in fireworks.  He could set it all up for us.  Much safer than if we try and do it ourselves and risk having an accident.”

“What a horrible thought.”  Annabelle shuddered.  “Are you sure these things are safe, David?” 

“Oh don’t fuss, Belle, darling,” Peter muttered.  “As long as this chap knows what he’s doing it will be perfectly all right.  I’ll make sure the fireworks are well away from the house – just in case.” 

“Now, what sort of food should we have?”  Annabelle’s mind was racing now, thinking up all sorts of delicious ideas.  “A Saturday did we say?  I could order some of that superb sea food the little man delivers in his refrigerated van on a Friday.  That would keep overnight.  Maybe even some caviar…”

“You can’t possibly be thinking about prawns and caviar for a Bonfire Party, Mummy.”  Susie shook her head in dismay.  “We’re going to be outside watching fireworks.”

“But surely we won’t be eating outside in early November?”  Annabelle pulled a face.

“Probably, yes, Mummy,” admitted Susie.  “We could put steaks and sausages and baking potatoes in foil on the gas barbeque.  That’s traditional bonfire food.  We could eat on the terrace outside the sitting room while we’re watching the display.  Just wear a warm coat and boots.  Especially if it’s raining.”

“What?”  Annabelle was horrified by the thought of standing outside in the rain to watch fireworks, but quickly pulled herself together.  “All right, darling.  I think we need to compromise on a menu that will work well for people who want to be outside no matter what, and also for the people who won’t be putting a foot outside unless it’s 20 degrees, which is highly unlikely in November.”

“Good idea, Mummy,” replied Susie.  “With your great culinary ability I’m sure we can come up with a menu that will be the best Bonfire Party menu ever.  Maybe even with a touch of je ne sais quoi?”

Annabelle hugged her daughter.  “That’s a plan then.  Let’s think up a menu that everyone will love, and we’ll ask your father to make us a delicious, warming punch.” 

The Rowlands Online Saga - Bonfire Night

But what food will they prepare for the party?

What do you think Annabelle and Susie should serve for a truly Rowlands-inspired Bonfire Night buffet? And what about a punch that Peter could make?

Over to you!

Come along now, and share your recipe ideas with us all here. And the best part? I will award a free copy of Book 2 - – Heightened Emotions, An Oxfordshire Wedding – to two of you lucky readers for 1) the best food idea, and 2) the best punch idea (alcoholic or non-alcoholic).

Can’t wait to see your responses over on Facebook and Twitter

Antonia 

Buy Antonia's books here