In the quarter century I have lived in my little house in New Town, it has played host to many many feasts, gatherings and celebrations and marked the changing seasons. This final post in my 25 year celebration and backwards-glance at my home highlights just a small sample of these celebrations.
Some early gatherings happened outdoors in the warmer months, like family drinks on Christmas Eve.
In the early years, entertaining at home was challenging. Inside, a series of small rooms restricted numbers to less than a handful, so entertaining tended to happen outdoors during the warmer months, weather-permitting.
After a couple of years, outdoor entertaining tended to happen in the courtyard I’d excavated beneath the walnut tree.
After the renovations, entertaining indoors became easier, and I had the entire extended family around for Christmas dinner in 2011 – see the menu below.
A couple of years later, Tanya and Neville had renovated their home and had more room so Christmas dinner tends to be at theirs. So I reverted to hosting Christmas Eve drinks at New Town.
Christmas decorations at my place comprise a range of family traditions (often baubles created by family members and friends), toys that I’ve had since childhood, bits of kitsch found at discount stores and mementos brought home from my travels. I’ve also started collecting baubles that reflect an Australian summer Christmas. I’ll let you work out which is which in this small sample.
New Year festivities
For many years I have gathered together with a group of friends to explore cuisines from around the world – you can read more about these dinner parties at The Company of Friendly Cooks. Again, prior to the renos, there wasn’t room to host dinner parties so I tended to host less formal planning meetings, where we sat in the garden (weather permitting) and planned the complicated menus we would all cook for the meal the following week, and which often went on as long or longer than the dinner parties themselves.
Once the renos were done, I started hosting some of these dinners, often ones inspired by one or other of us having travelled and bringing home recipes for dishes that aren’t normally available in local restaurants or even in recipe books. A memorable one was inspired by Paul and Dorcas’ trip to Vietnam. We started by visiting the market for fresh produce and then set up an outdoor kitchen to start slicing and dicing for the feast later in the evening.
Changing seasons and sunsets
Preserving some of the backyard bounty
Most years I make some attempt to preserve some of the fruit and veg produced in my little garden.
Looking forward to another quarter century
I’ve been amazed at the response from family, friends and even strangers to these domestic recollections. If you have made it to the end of this very long post, thank you – I consider you a friend, whether we have met or not.
I look forward to sharing more stories – domestic and otherwise – over the next twenty five years, at least.
- 25 years in New Town
- Early renos at the New Town house
- The gardens of New Town
- The big renovation
- Finishing touches