Back in July, when I was in France
visiting Gregory, I happened to be there for The London’s wedding anniversary. Figuring they would be going out for the evening to celebrate, and Gregory would probably be working, I looked forward to a date with myself; Chinese takeaway, Sky TV, and a bottle of Rosé, but as most of my plans go, it didn’t.
The night before her anniversary, Mrs. London and I sat outside by the pool having apéro and tossing around ideas of where she could bring Mr. London for dinner (it was her year to plan).
The problem with restaurants in Toulon is that there aren’t that many great ones, and the ones that are, well, we’ve already been to, so it’s hard to find someplace special. And unfortunately, going anywhere out of town was a no-no, as Mr. London had to be in town for work. But as we sipped and brainstormed, and I looked around at the gorgeous surroundings and the new deck that Mr. London and Gregory had built (well done boys), a plan began to percolate…
What if I cooked dinner for them and served it on the terrace, and we’d make it a surprise, Mr. London would think he was going out somewhere, but really he’d be walked out to his own back garden which we would decorate with candles and flowers, and I would cook and serve. It would be my gift to them. We agreed it was an excellent idea patted ourselves on the back, and planned a menu.
The next day, we expected Mr. London to go out and about as he usually does, but nope, he decided to stay put on the couch, for the whole day, the couch that is right next to the open plan kitchen. It’s kind of difficult to cook a surprise meal when someone can see what you’re doing. And that’s when I had my second light bulb moment, I told Mr. London that I was cooking a surprise meal for Gregory, he would be home early that evening, and we would have it while he and Mrs. London were out celebrating. He believed it, and I even used this new ploy to let Mr. London pick out his own starter and dessert… silly Mr. London!
Mrs. London and I were quite chuffed with our cleverness let me tell you, but we still couldn’t do anything about decorating the terrace until Mr. London disappeared. Unfortunately, he decided to stay put until fifteen minutes before he and Mrs. London were due to ‘go out’, when he finally went upstairs to shower and get ready and that’s when Mrs. London and I sprung into action. We sprinted up the steps of the tiered garden, placing tea candles here and there and hanging them from the trees. We spread out rose petals, set the table, and setup the speakers so there would be music.
Miraculously, we were back inside by the time Mr. London was back downstairs putting his shoes on and grabbing his keys. I said goodbye, told them to have fun, and watched as Mrs. London walked her husband out the front door, and then into the side gate of their garden and up the steps to their date. I ran and put a dress on (their waitress should look lovely after all) and greeted them outside to ask what they would like to drink. Mr. London’s face was priceless! Mrs. London and I managed to pull of the surprise and amazingly, Gregory did not let the secret slip during any one of his and Mr. London’s zillion phone calls they had that day. Succès!
And after their dinner, Mr. and Mrs. London celebrated their marriage by sending off wish lanterns into the Toulon sky, and when Gregory got home, we all sat outside under the twinkling lights of a beautiful evening. It was more than a little romantic if I do say so myself.
P.S. In case you’re curious, the menu consisted of this crudités platter for nibbles that Mr. London picked out, followed by Coq au Riesling, and for dessert; ice cream topped with tropical fruit, Mr. London’s other choice (he’s very easy breezy, Mr. London is… or he thinks that Gregory is).