Yesterday, while swimming in our pool, I glanced across to where my beloved friend and neighbour Renee Hardy was tending the small herb garden she has planted OUTSIDE her fence, where others can enjoy it.
I watched her bend effortlessly to tend her plants, then stand up to wield her hoe, slim and lithe in her grey gardening jumper and slacks, hair immaculate as always, big earrings dangling. Even when gardening, Renee is glamorous.
And the extraordinary thing about Renee is that she turned 80 last weekend! Not only does she manage her own garden and one (or more) of the Capo di Monte community garden plots but she finds time to make chutneys and pickles, sing with the Bellas, take part in various artistic endeavours, tend her grand and great grandchildren, watch football with Ted and generally enjoy life to the full. And she can still rock and roll!
Because Renee is so universally loved her mountain friends threw a party for her on Sunday, here in the Capo pergola where so many fun parties have been held over the years. It was short notice so not everyone on the guest list could make it, and the weather was horribly cold and damp for a subtropical southern hemisphere November, but we still had fun. We decorated the pergola with shocking pink banner and balloons to match the tableware, all purchased by me on Friday with much glee as I wanted this to be as much like a little girl’s party as possible – even to the bowls of sherbet lollies on the table.
Louise Macrae made the cake (and what a cake!) and others brought dishes to represent various countries as the theme was Around the World in 80 Dishes. As we only had 14 guests we couldn’t make the 80 dishes – but we did have a nice big 80th candle on the cake!
Two highlights of the afternoon were Bernice’s especially written poem in honour of the occasion, referencing Renee’s acclaimed role as a fairy in two of our Christmas pantomimes (which Bernice writes and directs). Plus Sandy Hardie’s hilarious and very naughty chimney sweep poem which Renee requested. These girls are seasoned performers and know how to play to the gallery. Sandy, of course, is the author of the acclaimed and very funny (and personal) Diary of a Menopausal Poet.
And of course we sang and sipped bubbly and celebrated the friendship that binds us all together. In this horrible year such celebrations (and we have had a few!) are more than ever precious to us because in our small community it is our deep connection with each other that has helped get us through. Anyway, as usual I’ll let the pictures tell the story….
Oh and by the way, the night before Renee’s family threw a party for her at the coast (see below, with her son) – a 70s style disco party complete with coloured mirror ball. She danced until all hours – and still had plenty of oomph left for her party with friends on Sunday. Wotta girl!