Saturday, 13 April 2013

Fridays at Four

From just about the first Friday that we moved in, Hanworth's "Fridays at 4"  fast became a way of end-of-the-week life at the Green Lady. A chance to invite friends to call in and see what we had taken on (gasps and all) and get the pulse for what we were doing from those we trusted. And some of them were ruthless! Lucky we liked them!

Of course the moderator was always a drink - mostly champagne. And it was little wonder that in a home where a strong lady has always been in charge, that Veuve Clicquot fast became the preferred champagne of the House of Hanworth. And of course the week of Halloween marked the very first Friday at Four - how coincidental is it that pumpkin and Veuve share their colour?  Was this match simply not made in champagne heaven?

My beautiful daughter (to now be known as Miss HH) carved the pumpkin but somewhere between Halloween and Friday at Four, it lost its head!

For those of you unfamiliar with the story of Madame Clicquot let us at least pause to reflect on this "Grand Dame".   Barbe-Nicole Ponsardin was born in 1777 and, at 21, she married François Clicquot. After her husband died six years later, she was left to control a company which, under her guidance, grew to focus very much on champagne. She was quite the pioneer - and she died in 1866, when Hanworth was just 2 years old.  The champagne cap bears her image. It was little wonder that Hanworth found an early affinity with Madame Clicquot.

Many Fridays at Four followed the first Halloween affair. Shared with friends, neighbours, staff and a few newcomers in our lives.

Friday nights have always been my favourite night of the week and, as the sun sets on Hanworth, the scene is truly perfect and always promises so much for the weekend which follows.

We found these hats on the first day inside one of the many hospice room cupboards. We wondered who owned them but they became known as our "Melbourne Cup" hats. And usually provided the decor for the first Fridays at 4 gatherings.

Of course Fridays at 4 ceased in the immediate aftermath of the fire, but on Friday 6 April, with three fabulous women by my side (all of our mums mean the world to us), we thought it was an appropriate time to reconstitute Fridays at 4. With a very considered champagne choice....

Horray that Fridays at 4 were back! But only plastic champagne glasses as our supply had perished in the fire. Must put them as priority on the shopping list! Thanks to the beautiful Meges, Shells and Renee for being here to help re-launch this milestone.

And don't worry - the events continued yesterday, a week later, true to form!  And for those who need a little more education on the important role women have played in the evolution of champagne, Lilly Bollinger took over the Bollinger champagne house when Jacques Bollinger died in 1941. Under her reign, she worked wonders to promote the Bollinger brand. One of her more memorable quotes was:

I drink [champagne] when I’m happy and when I’m sad. Sometimes I drink it when I’m alone. When I have company I consider it obligatory. I trifle with it if I’m not hungry and drink it when I am. Otherwise, I never touch it—unless I’m thirsty.

Hope your weekend is good too..

x HH

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