Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Ethan's First Birthday

July in Portland heralds three months of almost guaranteed Summer: no rain to speak of, and hot - but not particularly humid - days peaking somewhere between 70 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit. A cabal of close associates are intending to "go mad" and organise a barbecue every weekend from now until Fall, thus beating Alan Partridge's previous record set in Norwich during the sixties.

Ethan is now a year old and I have been awake for the vast majority of it. Of course (I say "of course" although it was not at all obvious to me beforehand), one cannot help but fall in love with a new born baby; nevertheless the one year old version is almost infinitely cuter: able to do 'stuff' and express himself in ways beyond wailing (he can say 'daddy' quite perfectly), and generally requiring considerably less (although still vast amounts of) maintenance.

We held a party last weekend to mark Ethan's birthday, the arrival of Summer and the significant achievement of us all still being alive at this point, and were delighted that many of our friends were able to join us for the triple celebration. Quite apart from the rare and excellent company - much missed over the preceding months - most everyone professed to enjoy my selection of English summer treats, including a glass or two of Pimms, my very own homemade scones with cream and strawberry jam, and an enormous raspberry trifle, a tribute to my mother's infamous recipe. This involves replacing the more traditional double layer of custard and cream toppings with a single layer of syllabub, which is both superior and easier to come by in these parts, where you cannot buy custard ready-made in a can. Or even custard powder. And I didn't fancy making my own custard.

The trifle was an homage to my mother's version. Minus the brandy. But including the sherry. It was a triumph!

I was slightly suspicious that there might have been some under-age drinking going on.

Ethan was especially fond of his birthday balloon.

Letting go.

The following day, crashed out during a belated birthday barbecue for Travis.