Susie and I have kids of a similar age and brought them up in the same part of Swansea. We met in the playground, the school yard and the park so it was natural enough that we should both go to the same book group. The kids are grown up and the playground just a happy memory but we still go to the book group. I reminded the other nine ladies at book group last week that I was waiting for all of them except Morgan (lunch 19) to give me a date for lunch. One person came up a delightful idea for an outing as well as a meal, another suggested a walk followed by lunch, but it was Susie who came up with an idea, a venue, and more importantly, a date.
Susie’s idea was that she would give me a massage. She has been studying massage at the local college for a while now and is presumably still sufficiently enthusiastic as to want to practise on people for pleasure. I love being massaged and jumped at the chance, hardly noticing that she had also suggested that she cook lunch afterwards.
The massage and lunch obviously had to be done at her house which gave me the opportunity to say hello to Never. I don’t know if I’m spelling that right, I assume that she’s named for the fact that she never misses the opportunity to pinch food if she possibly can (she’s a lurcher and true to her breed). She has beautiful, soulful eyes, enhanced with an accident of her colouring which looks uncannily like Kohl. The eyes are impossible to resist, she was chosen from the rescue centre because of them and would undoubtedly have persuaded me to part with a good proportion of my lunch if she had been there. She is a gentle, affectionate, beautiful dog and an adornment to any social setting. Except perhaps the kitchen while food is being prepared.
Wednesday 18 February 2015
Susie’s house, Uplands, Swansea
Lunch began, as all good lunches should, with a full body massage. I love massage and have been massaged by many different people in a variety of styles. Massage is an odd thing, the inevitable intimacy means that some masseurs, while no doubt trained and qualified, don’t seem very good at it because they aren’t able to get their clients to relax. On the other hand, one of the best masseuses I’ve ever known was self taught and an amateur. With massage, you literally need to have the touch for it.
I was very happy to realise within minutes that Susie definitely has the touch. It helped that she was using the most delicious Neal’s Yard essential oils, no doubt chosen with some skill as she is a consultant for them, have a look at her page on their site: https://uk.nyrorganic.com/shop/susiejohnston/area/about-me/. I was also glad to see that she doesn’t use that allegedly soothing Japanese flutes and running water type of music which is supposed to relax but irritates the hell out of me. So things were off to a silent, beautifully perfumed, flying start, which got better and better as each bit of me was given the treatment. By the time she had finished, I was a purring, floppy heap of contentment and just about awake enough to set a mental bookmark: if this lady ever decided to go into business, book her to do this at least once a month, preferably more.
As instructed, I dressed and followed Susie into her kitchen where the first thing I saw was a table set for two and a couple of glasses of Cava. I would have been quite happy to head down into nearby Uplands and eat at one of the cafes or restaurants there, I had already made my friend work hard and it seemed the least I could do. It would have been a shame to waste that lovely, fuzzy feeling and the scent of all those beautiful oils on the hustle and traffic of the town of course, so I was very pleased to see that lunch was well under way, certainly beyond the ‘let’s abandon this and hit the pub’ stage.
It would never have crossed my mind to refuse Susie’s food had I known how good it was going to be. She gave me three courses, all of which were delicious and mostly slightly different from my usual fare, so my interest was piqued as well as my taste buds satisfied.
Not surprisingly given the circumstances, conversation flowed easily. We chatted about books and our kids of course, as we have for years, but it’s a sign of the times that we now also discussed retirement, pensions and how long we would both have to keep working ( too bloody long in both cases). The oddest point in the conversation was perhaps when I asserted that I didn’t think I’d have any problem breast feeding a chimpanzee. It fitted quite nicely at the time, but Susie’s face told me that it wasn’t perhaps the reaction she was expecting.
This is lunch 23 so I shouldn’t pre-judge, but it is hard to imagine that any of the other of my 50 lunches will leave me feeling quite so indulged. Susie didn’t have to do that, I would have been quite happy eating beans on toast in a cafe, it was an afternoon of pure pleasure for me and one which will stay with me for a very long time.