We’ve been threatening a belated birthday celebration for AOR at Milk and Honey for a while. We figured we could languish on the roof and be lavished with yummy sliders and delicious and spankingly fresh cocktails. It's also a belated birthday for Swedish CJ as she's managed to tear herself away from Mourinho and join us! It transpires that it's not the balmiest of nights, so we retire to the Red Room. I love this room, this is where we came when LB let me avail of her private membership the first time and it reminds me of a vaguely prohibition/speakeasy vibe. The place is filled with the sort of cabinets that sat in my grandmothers’ front room. Both my grandmothers seemed to have an extensive collection of little knick-knacks "for best". These pieces would sit in highly polished cabinets in a room which never got used. As a child I couldn't grasp the concept of this front parlour or front room. I was allowed to be in there if I was careful, examine the brasses, the odd pieces of china, figurines, lace doilies, turn the little key in the cabinet and rifle through all the bits of bric-a-brac, very gently. The sofa and chairs were new, immaculate, covered in weird stretchy covers, crocheted antimacassars and, to my knowledge, never, ever sat on. The legs of the wood furniture were placed in little plastic cups so as to not mark the carpet. And talking of carpet, this would be extravagantly flowered and also covered with a plastic runner that made a distinctive loud scraping sound if you managed to catch you shoes on it just so. It was kept spic and span, if I asked the point of this room, some veiled reference to being ready for the queen to visit would be made.
It seems really odd, both sets of my grandparents when I was little, lived in small terraced houses in different parts of North Manchester. And despite neither of them having a bathroom, they both preserved the utter sanctity of this untouched parlour.
In their next homes, they finally had lovely bathrooms, with inside toilets and all mod cons. I wish I'd asked them if they missed these museum rooms or did having a bathroom soften the blow.
I'm sure my granny would have loved examining the contents of these cabinets full of etched glass goblets, lead crystal decanters and silver cocktail shakers. I'm not sure why the glasses holding tea lights seem to be studded with cranberries but they made a nice cosy image and brought back a flood of memories.