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Memories of a Ruby Wedding Celebration with Friends and Family

This is a proxy story by proxy, i.e., Maggie telling me what happened at our Saturday bash, probably Sunday too, it’s 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.

But what 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, hamrollsapplesbananaspearspotatocrisps tortillacrispspringlesnutsbreadrollsbaguettescheeses 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 Maggie’s rather extensive family.

Suddenly we 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 Lesotho’s 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!

The huge diversity of people was as fascinating in itself as the way in which they all intermingled.

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.

Geoffrey, with 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!

Geoffrey maintained that his team won, but I pointed out that it was my party and we won…period.

Christopher, 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!

Once again Maggie whipped up a superb lunch and we sat in the hot sun and feasted quietly and contentedly.

One day we might even go back to work… but not just yet.

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