Okay, this is a food blog, so why am I talking music? Because in Betty’s there’s no separating the two when it comes to dinner parties at my Aunt’s place. And yip, there was just such a dinner party last night…
Arriving with a loaf of bread and a cheap bottle of wine, I practically tripped over a guitar case and fell into Big Mama’s welcoming arms. And there was The Viking (frying sesame seeds in a big old pot on the stove), Geoff (saying ‘I love your hair!’), Claire (in her Irish voice singing, ‘oooooooooohh those spikes look just like leeetle horns!’ – yes, I had just paid a visit to my crazy snip-snappy hairdresser!) and the kiss-kiss-kissing of cheeks all around.
It was then that I met Paula, also an Irish girl, who has a voice like, well… I’ll explain her voice as soon as I can.
We had dinner outside by candlelight. It was the simplest of spreads: homemade bread, Alan’s experimental tahini (ooooooooh!), ripe brie, hot potatoes and salads. It was all merriment as conversation, laughter and wine flowed. Next thing I knew we were sitting in the lounge listening to Claire and Paula sing.
It was a song of olde, a haunting piece. And the room was quiet except for their voices, cascading up towards the heavens and coming down again like soft rain, watering your soul.
Guitars were passed around and Geoff and The Viking started strumming away, joining in the song, moving things into more upbeat territory. My Aunt and I, the only audience, clapped along and sipped on white wine.
‘Have you ever wanted to play an instrument?’ I asked Candy. ‘No, not really, I wish I could sing though! And you?’
‘I wish!’ I replied, too caught up in the music to mention my short-lived career as a drummer in the days of ‘ignorance-is-bliss’ – when I played my Mom’s upside down pots and pans like there was no tomorrow.
My Aunt took a huge swig of wine, handed me a seaweed shaker and picked up two boxes of Lion matches.
‘Oh, my word,’ I thought. ‘Percussion, here we come!’
We got right into the spirit of things and played along with the band like nobody was watching.
Hmmmm, come to think of it, nobody was. And that is a real good thang, I tell ya!