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Summer Garden Party, Sunday July 21st 2019

Reporter: Bill Matthews

I dare not contemplate the hours spent by Caroline personally, alone, creating almost all the exotic dishes to perfection for this long standing welcoming event in the club calendar.

Initially, it seemed impossible that we would consume so much good food but clearly Caroline and Alan were forewarned of some really professional eaters about to attend. The very ample freshly baked salmon was presented without a single bone, I believe, together with the biggest juiciest prawns you can imagine, forming the centrepiece of the display. I still do not know what the unique quiches contained — maybe asparagus figured — but anyway they were cooked to perfection.

This was certainly not a vegetarian’s party. Superb quality sausages (I must find the source) were fully prepared by the time of our arrival — banger on time — with hardly a spare one to spare by the end. Thanks be to the good land-'lord' Alan.

When Brian Winstanley, Tom and Nigel turned up in all their gear, together with myself, it was looking more like a Cycle Touring Club meet than a SCoM 'do' until the Backbeat a Capella chorus changed the 'tone' from sports meeting to pure entertainment. They gave you several rounds of charming melody without even handing the hat around for donations; creating a very cheerful atmosphere.

After the previous days of torrential showers, it was a delight and relief to have the perfect day of broken sunshine, dry lawn and ideal temperature. It is noted that Alan has reconstituted to a stirling condition the lawn damaged by last years' climate.

The gardens are a credit to our hosts and, as usual, the vegetables and fruits are so well advanced; compared to my own in Disley. Tours of the garden, glass in hand, have become traditional. How very English! It's a fine way of relaxing and celebrating summer adding to an already exceptional Garden Party for which Caroline and Alan have our humble thanks.

It occurred to me that it appears few guests, this year, had properly read the SCoM newsletter advising them to bring something to drink. I don't like to be the only alcoholic present!

By 4pm I organised myself to cycle home expecting to avoid being, yet again, the last guest to go. There must have been some minor conspiracy afoot amongst the Backbeat group because they all disappeared quickly before I could depart. That left me exhibiting poor manners after such a graceful reception by Alan and Caroline.

For those, if any, who spared a thought about my condition, I record that I got home without falling off my bike into a Middlewood Way ditch — just!

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