The long Easter weekend always used to conform to a set pattern: on Good Friday all through my twenties my close friends from university & I would drive up from a deserted London to Leicestershire for a dangerously good house party at the Home Farm, East Carlton hosted by Rose C-S, and her children, the irrepressible Nick & Suze.
On the Saturday we would pile into cars with Pansy the Peke for the Woodland Pytchley point-to-point (National Hunt steeplechasing) at Dingley, dressed in wellies and whatever approximation of country clothing we could rustle up between us. Rose would make a huge picnic to eat out the back of the car, and we’d work our way through drank gallons of sloe gin, dip quails eggs in celery salt, & chase them with Creme Eggs, before making shockingly bad £5 bets (hmm nice colours, great name) with the bookies in exchange for those small pastel coloured card rectangles and avoiding dull old schoolfriends in the seething beer tent.
We’d carry on into the evening with more eating, drinking & bad-ness until the very, very small hours, then church on Sunday for the Easter service, Rose’s proper Sunday lunch round the long mahogany table, more lolling and next day often a big lunch for all of us on the Bank Holiday at my parent’s house in Northamptonshire an hour away.
It seems like a time set in amber, none of it ever to be repeated.Dearest Rose died last summer, Home Farm is sold, both Suze & Emma live in France, Laura’s pregnant, Lach moved to Arizona, I moved to New York, every couple has split, and there are new partners, lots of lovely children & a different set of priorities. My parents are divorcing, my sister is sick in London, and neither of us are speaking to my father who could be in Timbuktu for all we know.
So, a different kind of English Easter this year. It’s late, so more tomorrow.