The lovely sunshiny day was marked by a family gathering in Plymouth after I'd finished yet another stupid-o'clock-in-the-morning shift. Before we all met up, though, Wizzers was to be found trogging with her Mama (that'll be Mrs The Millbrooker, then) along the byways twixt Millbrook and Cremyll to rendezvous with yours truly, Dozybean and The Depitty.'Ere long all were gathered as tradition demands and we settled down for a cold drink in the oven-like temperatures of the Barbican's Seafood and Pasta Bar's al-fresco dining area, the prime choice of young Wizzers herself.
Must say, she chose very well; delicious food, pleasant outlook over the harbour, attentive and friendly staff - what more could you ask? Oh yes, you could ask for nice hot weather so that sitting outside is a pleasure rather than a penance. Did I mention that it was a hot and sunny day at all?
Here's the assembled Millbrook branch of the family with Intoeverythingsworth on his Nana's lap carefully checking the menu before ordering:It was one of those important and rare moments of history upon which The Wizzers of Soz actually ate something that wasn't salad or bread. Here she is with her starter of garlic mushrooms, just to prove that occasionally she can scran down with the best of 'em: I indulged in a "Tian of Crab Meat" for starters. "What's a tian?" I hear you ask. I had absolutely no idea when I ordered, but have looked it up since and I don't think that what I was served was remotely tian-like according to the Larousse Gastronomique on my bookshelf. Larousse describes a tian thus: [a dish consisting of]..."layers of sliced potatoes and chopped onion with sliced tomato, sprinkled with thyme, salt and pepper covered with grated cheese and sprinkled with olive oil. [It is possible to substitute for potato]...artichoke hearts with anchovies, aubergines with tomatoes, salt cod, white haricot beans and spinach."
Not a mention of crab anywhere and my crab, though utterly delicious, didn't feature many (if any) of the above definitive ingredients. However, if the Seafood and Pasta Bar wishes to call something a tian, who am I to question?After a jolly good slap-up, we decided to give a portion of our hard-earned to the world renowned Cap'n Jaspers, and had a yummy ice cream each. The birthday girl and her dreadlocked bro' munched and slurped theirs by the harbour. Intoeverythingsworth poked his around his face in his pushchair.Soon enough we had to start to wander homeward via the Cremyll ferry and then treated ourselves to a cheeky pint at The Edgcumbe Arms as we waited for the bus back to Millbrook. Unexpectedly, Dong wandered along and joined us for a quick libation as he waited for his boy, J.Edgar, to buy him a long promised beer upon finishing his day's labours aboard the Barbican-to-Cawsand Ferry.When we arrived back at Millbrooker Towers, there was a package awaiting the birthday girl's arrival. It was from Milly (that's Nana to Wizzers, of course) and Trickers (Grampy to the still-but-only-just teenager); it had a smashing bouquet within.
After a short period of rest from the day's birthday activities, we gathered again at The 'Ark so that Wizzers and Dozybean could demonstrate their skills in randomly pushing balls about on a pool table in the hope that one or more might go down a hole. This took some time.
At that point, sadly, I had to call it a night and head bedwards even though 'twas only 8 o'clock; another three forty five start would shatter my slumbers the next morning. Thanks to J. Edgar's kindness in the babysitting department, though, the rest of the revellers were able to head off to The Random Arms at Maker Heights for the open mic night. Wizzers met up with her mate Dan Hillman, jazzman extraordinaire, who joined the party. More slurping of drinkies and much talking of bollocks ensued and Mr Hillman joined the Millbrooker Towers mob at home for a night cap after what I'm told was very enjoyable evening.
So, there you have it, by all accounts (most especially and most importantly by The Wizzers' account) a fine and successful birthday jaunt. Happy birthday, Wizzers of Soz, glad you enjoyed your day.