This is a proxy
story by proxy, i.e., Maggie telling me what happened at our Saturday bash,
probably Sunday too, its all a bit hazy and confused.
The beer man
arrived with the obligatory barrel of Autumn Gold real ale on
Thursday (he was playing cricket on Friday so he left me to tap it on Friday)
and the tent men arrived late Friday afternoon. Putting up a marquee that
stretched the length of our lawn was a joy to behold it was a long way
from my cub-scout days! The three bay marquee in red and green panels sprang up
as if on springs, complete with internal lighting! Long tables went up to take
the consumables and round tables plus chairs for the anticipated one hundred
and fifty guests! It was magic.
followed on Saturday morning was even more fantastic when Maggie, ably
supported by daughter-in-law Jane, produced a Chicken Korma and Vegetable curry
of Gargantuan proportions, plus, in true Ratty from Wind in the Willows style,
sausagerollskiwifruitspineapplemelonsstrawberriescherries. Got the picture?
Geoffrey arrived with two large steaming cauldrons of beef curry (his own beef
cattle) and Frank Dandy (a local entrepreneur) arrived with a beautiful set of
garden table and chairs that turned out to be a present from Maggies
rather extensive family.
were ready for the off and I took the opportunity to take my first drink of the
day, not, I hasten to add, my last
What I think
made the day was that everyone seemed to be in a mood to celebrate: three
couples celebrating new additions to their families, Greg celebrating the sale
of his software company, Geoffrey (a QC) celebrating the course of his current
case against Saddam Hussein, Peter celebrating the success of his resolution of
Lesothos problems, Neal (a sculptor) celebrating the success of a new
exhibition, Tony was celebrating all his ambitions coming together in one
building housing Squash Courts (he was a Squash champion) an auction room, an
antique centre and a bar, Maggie was justifiably celebrating the huge success
of her catering, and so it went on. Me? I was just celebrating!
diversity of people was as fascinating in itself as the way in which they all
I, as you might
have gathered by now, was well in my cups and unintentionally provided at least
one of the highlights of the day when my chair collapsed and left me on my back
with my arms and legs in the air like a stranded Turtle.
wicked glee, proposed a cricket match in the orchard and quickly rounded up
half a dozen players too inebriated to realise what was going on myself
included. As standing upright was an achievement in itself bowling was a
ludicrous idea. I found myself bowling to a young Asian boy (the son of a
consultant neurosurgeon) eager to show off his athleticism and cricketing
skills. I bowled, hit a damson tree, an apple tree and three fielders before
they took me off!
maintained that his team won, but I pointed out that it was my party and we
aided and abetted by Guy, made a speech and I have to admit it we, Maggie and
I, were very close to tears, nor were we the only ones.
The wine and
beer continued to flow into the darkness and people drifted in and out of my
consciousness. When it all ended I have no idea, only that it was a happy,
happy day to be surrounded by so many friends and relatives.
As surely as
day follows night the clearing up of the debris arrived along with the
Paracetamol and very strong coffee. Fortunately friends and relatives arrived
to lighten the burden and our neighbour MP arrived and invited us to lunch in
the House of Commons!
Maggie whipped up a superb lunch and we sat in the hot sun and feasted quietly
One day we
might even go back to work
but not just yet.