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A Special Sunday Brunch Part 3 (Conclusion)

brunch2

Maurice kept the kebabs flowing. Velvette had not only made pizza for the rather finicky children, but a pot of hearty fish and tomato stew that everyone had with chunks of sliced warm baguettes baked by Mae, who also made risotto with prawns and asparagus. Mildred contributed a bit of spaghetti bolognaise that she had made for dinner the night before, which Esme dug into with relish.

brunch3

The Brambles took charge of dessert, which everyone made sure they had room in their bellies for.

When the dishes and cutlery were cleared, and the birthday cake brought out, there was a collective gasp of pleasure.

birthday cake 1

‘Strawberry chantilly cream cake!’ squealed Matthew. ‘My favorite!’ It was Mortimer’s specialty.

‘Gather around, everyone!’ said Eleanor.

birthday cakeThe birthday song was sung. Matthew made a wish and blew out the candles on the cake, and Eleanor made sure that everybody had a thick slice.

‘Sooooo yummy,’ said Matthew. ‘I love you, Dad!’

cake

‘So do we!’ chimed George and Mildred.

goodbye

It was a little after three in the afternoon when the neighbors said their goodbyes and ambled home, already dreaming about siesta in their warm cosy beds. They had helped with the washing up and all there was to do was to take down the party decorations.

Eleanor helped carry the presents up to Matthew’s bedroom.

presents2

‘Have fun opening them!’ she said.

Matthew started with the Slydales’ gift. It was a book bag.

bookbag‘Perfect!’ said Eleanor. ‘You needed a new one.’

From Elma, Mae, Ike and Candy, Matthew got a pair of white sneakers.

shoes

‘Nice,’ said Matthew. He turned to the pink package and gently unwrapped it. The Mulberry grandparents were famous for their unconventional gifts. Matthew tried not to expect too much. He imagined lime green pyjamas with watermelon prints.

pink present

‘It’s a … keyboard!’ Matthew exclaimed. ‘It’s so cool!’

keyboard

‘That must’ve come from Uncle Edward’s shop,’ said Eleanor. Edward Mulberry, George and Mildred’s son, was a brilliant toymaker. ‘This must be one of his latest products. You’re a very lucky boy, Mattie.’

Matthew saved Esme’s present for last. She had told him that it was something he would really, really like, and over brunch he had spent every fifth or sixth mouthful of food guessing what it was, and being told he was wrong. Now he would finally know.

Esme's gift

‘Hmm, looks like a book,’ he said as he opened the top of the gift box.

book

‘Oh, a book about camping! And Esme wrote it!’

Esme loved camping and was the best person to ask about the best equipment and  camping spots around the country. She got Matthew interested after she showed him pictures of her many camping trips. Matthew’s birthday present was a handmade guide to camping, a thick notebook filled with handwritten notes, pictures and maps pasted on the pages.

‘I’m going to read it rightaway!’ declared Matthew, climbing onto his bunk bed.

MB in bed

‘Not so fast, young man,’ said Eleanor. ‘Straighten up your room first. I don’t want all this wrapping paper lying around. Birthday boys still need to pick up after themselves, you know.’

after party

‘Okay,’ said Matthew. ‘I love you, Mom!’

‘I love you too,’ said Eleanor, ‘but you still have to clean up. I’m going to sit with your dad and watch a bit of TV.’

-The End-

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A Special Sunday Brunch Part 2

The children amused themselves with helium-filled balloons that the Chantillys had picked up in town, while the adults worked quickly to get the brunch ready.

Kids with balloons

Maurice got the fire started and was soon arranging his famous seafood and vegetable kebabs on the grill. (He was asked once what he used to marinate his juicy and flavorful kebabs, and his reply was, “Oh, a little salt and some spices,” and a wink.)

Myriam and Eleanor set the tables.

Mortimer, having done his part the night before – putting up the party decorations after Matthew had gone to bed, and making and frosting the birthday cake – got to kick back and just welcome the guests.

Slydales arrive

The Slydales arrived soon after, and quickly pitched in. Velvette Slydale brought a tomato and cheese pizza for the children.

table setting

‘Very thoughtful of you, Velvette,’ said Eleanor.

‘Oh, it was nothing,’ said Velvette. ‘Good idea to bring these plastic plates for the children, Myriam. I keep telling Slick to get plastic bowls and cups for our little Skitter, but he says he doesn’t care for plastic. I said to him, ‘Well, you’ll start caring once we run out of china!”

‘Indeed!’ said Myriam, and the ladies giggled.

The Mulberrys – Elma and Mae and their children Ike and Candy – finally appeared, with the unexpected additions of the children’s grandparents, George and Mildred.

‘How lovely to see you, George and Millie!’ cried Eleanor, giving the feisty old lady a warm hug.

The Mulberrys

‘Sorry we’re later than usual, Ellie and Mort,’ said Mae. ‘Ma and Pa called from the village to say that they were coming by, so we waited for them and they got lost.’

‘Oh, a little off-the-beaten-track adventure never hurt anyone,’ said George.

‘And we come bearing gifts for your boy,’ said Mildred as she handed Eleanor two big wrapped packages.

presents

‘The one in the er, appropriate wrapping paper is from Mae and family,’ said Mildred. ‘The one in pink is from George and me, I’m afraid. I know your Mattie is a boy, but it’s such a pretty pink paper that I couldn’t resist. Anyway, it’s what’s inside that matters, I think.’

‘You’re absolutely right, Millie!’ said Eleanor. She found Mildred’s eccentricities refreshing and endearing.

Maurice

‘Ladies and gentlemen!’ Maurice announced. ‘The kebabs are ready, and everyone’s here, so shall we have brunch now?’

And they did.

brunch

-End of Part 2-