Tag Archives: family party

It’s 3a.m. In the big brother house

This post actually started on Wednesday night and has been done in disjointed sections. It’s a bit like my brain at the mo – disjointed sections.

Part one.

It’s ok. It’s not the big brother house but it is 3 a.m. So.

Where am I at such an ungodly hour? Answers on a postcard please. The best answer will win a snort of approval from me.

Where am I really?

I’m at the emergency vets with Douggie the doggie. Here he is drugged and dripped.


It’s been a funny, and by funny I mean strange, week. After all these weeks we have a viewer for our house … What? Tell you about Douggie? I will. All in good time, dear reader.

Obviously this viewer could only come in the most inconvenient time possible. Friday. Exactly when I am cooking for 50 people who are turning up from all corners if the British Isles to help us celebrate Boofuls’ 60th birthday. It’s a good job dawn cracks about 3.30 at this time year because that’s when I’ll need to get up to get everything done.

Just to throw a couple more spanners in the works. The tiler didn’t turn up till today and only did half the job and the builder didn’t show up at all. Git.

The outside privy isn’t working and we have one loo to service 50 people. No pressure. I fuckin’ love life.

Back to Douggie:

First thing this morning Douggie threw up. In an attempt to stop the vom hitting the carpet I caught it in my nightie. Ew. Douggie continued to throw up all day becoming worse as the day wore on.

We took him to the vet who drugged him with some hefty drugs, to no avail. He continued to deteriorate.

At the point when he couldn’t lie down because of the pain and he was becoming confused due to dehydration I decided at 1a.m. to phone the emergency vets – and here I am. This is one poorly doggie.

Part two:

Fast forward to today.

Douggie is almost back to normal after being on a drip for two days and having massive  amounts of drugs. The exact cause of his illness wasn’t established despite many blood tests and x rays and £1000+.

Best guesses are pancreatitis, gastroenteritis and poisoning.

We picked him up from the vet’s on Friday.

Remember I mentioned Friday?

Ah yes, Friday.

The day of Boofuls’ birthday. The day of Boofuls’ party. The day we had viewers for the house and the day I had to cater for many people and prepare for a massive party. The day that some of the guests turned up mighty early.  The day my brother decided to drop by.The day the weather that had been glorious for weeks decide to change and deliver  many weeks worth of howling wind and rain all at once.

The day I was tearing my hair out.

The only possible course of action was to get my head down and keep paddling.

The poor dog could really have down without a massive party, I’m sure his attitude to it was the same as mine, that he really wished it wasn’t happening – but it was, so get on with it.

You know what?

It was alright.

It was better than alright, it was brilliant. Guests were told not to feed the dog. We had decorated the barn with fairy lights and chinese lanterns and it looked lovely. The plus side of that was that the house was kept relatively quite. We put up a canopy outside so there was shelter for the smokers and it was all really nice.

I’d very cleverly prepared food that didn’t require too much attention. Two potato  and meat pies, one butter pie, a chilli, a chicken curry, a cheese platter, a large joint of beef cooked beautifully rare and some other bits and pieces.  Lashes, Gembolina, Len’s mum and Big Marge all brought stuff as well and The Rev made a fantastic birthday cake. Winklepop made a point of looking after Douggie for me.

All in all it was a successful night and we didn’t get to bed till 3.00a.m. Just before we set off to bed Boofuls decided to have his final fag. Now stop it you Americans!! Fag means cigarette in Blighty.

I was tidying the kitchen when suddenly I heard a howl from outside. “Oh no!!!” The canopy had finally given up the ghost and collapsed, depositing all the rain collected on top of it – straight onto Boofuls.  Oh! How I laughed. Especially since I’d had my own soaking earlier in the evening.

Why did I get a soaking?

Well, dear reader, let me tell you.

About a week ago one of my friends was nominated for ‘the water challenge’. It’s just a bit of summer silliness and it just means that you allow yourself to get a soaking and post a video of it on Facebook. She in turn nominated me.

Just about exactly at that rime I got an email from Cancer Research suggesting that we hold a BBQ in aid of their ‘Burger off Cancer’ campaign. Hhhmmm, I could probably incorporate this into the party and do a bit of fund-raising at the same time, I thought.

Lashes had the brilliant idea of auctioning of jugs of water to the guests so they could throw it over me. I was gutted how many people were willing to pay money to throw water over me.




Telly fest

Ok, so Boxing day wasn’t all I thought it was going to be. In fact it ended up as nothing but a great big telly fest. The end result of slumping in front of the telly for hours and hours on end is that now I can’t sleep. Bugger it.

What happened then?

As planned, Boofuls and me set of to Len’s Mum and Dad’s for drinkies and buffet with their extended family.

On the way there we both voiced our concern to each other that we felt a bit like we were gatecrashing a family event – even though we’d been invited.

You know that feeling when a group is really comfortable together and then new people come along and change the dynamic, creating a bit of an atmosphere? Well it was a bit like that. Everyone was trying really hard but it was, well,  hard.  So we made our excuses after a short while and left as we felt we were ruining what would otherwise have been a nice party.

So that was it. Wall to wall telly and chocolates. Groan. At least it was decent telly. Think I may need to go for a really long walk with Mrs Woofy tomorrow.

In the meantime, I’ll get on with processing some photographs from a baby bump shoot I did last week. An hour or so of that should be soporific enough to do the trick and send me off to the land of zzzzzzzzzzz’s


The Butler did it….or did he?

Every season of the year has it’s charms.

I always mourn the demise of summer and have visions of a long and bleak winter stretching out for months in front of us. Then  I find myself  in the woods on a cold, bright and crisp day and think to myself, ‘You can’t beat a walk in the woods on a lovely crisp autumn day when the leaves have turned to gold and red, it’s breathtaking. I think this is my favourite time of year.’

Not so breathtaking but just as charming in their  own way are the still and misty days. The ones that inspired Keats’ Ode to Autumn; ‘ Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness.’  I always think of that poem when I’m out walking on  those gentle, calming and soft days. It’s not so invigorating as a crisp walk but it’s an ideal time for reflection. ‘Aaah, yes, Autumn is definitely the best time of year.’

The nights  are really starting to draw in now,  it’s dark by 7pm and the clocks go back this weekend so it’ll be darker even sooner. Then it’s officially the time of year for snuggly nights on the settee, candles and cosiness.  It’s not all bad  as the year rolls round to winter.

Now that it’s getting light later we have been able to enjoy some absolutely spectacular sunrises. I love ‘the pink hour’  and this month there have been a lot of them. This was this morning:

The pink hour

The pink hour is a nice consolation prize for having to get up in the dark.  I really, really hate getting up in the dark. It doesn’t matter what time it is. If I have to get up in the dark it feels like the middle of the night. Should be a law against it. Somehow I don’t mind it quite so much when I get to start the day with a sunrise like this one.

Huh? What happened to mourning summer?

See. Every season of the year has it’s charms.

I saw two things on a trip to B & Q yesterday. One made me laugh and the other made my jaw drop in surprise. I photographed them both for you.


Hahaaaaa!! Bapmobile! I love it!  It took me a second to get it though. Say it out loud.

Just in case you don’t know,  and sorry for patronising you if you do, baps are a kind of bread roll.

Baps is also a slang word for  breasts, generally large breasts. I’ve noticed a couple of sandwich shops with names like “Bev’s Baps’ which always makes me chuckle like a twelve year old boy as I drive past.

Doncha just love word games?

The other thing I saw, two minutes later had me standing slack jawed with surprise in the garden centre. What do you think? Would you have been as surprised as me?

Christmas Trees

Real, needle dropping,branch drooping after 2 weeks, christmas trees!  I know these are in plantpots but even so. It’s October!  If you can’t stick to the old adage of ‘Keep Christmas in December’ then at least try and hold out till mid November.  I’d  be willing to bet that by next week we see a couple of houses trimmed up for Christmas. Let’s have a competition and see who spots the first one. I’ll need photographic evidence, mind. The winner wins, um, nothing.

It’s The Rev’s birthday this weekend. To celebrate it we decided to have a murder mystery dinner party, we haven’t done that for ages. I love a good murder mystery dinner party.

The story line  was that a tomb even more important than Tutankhamun’s had been unearthed and now the archaeologists involved in the dig were dropping like flies. Plenty of scope there for intrigue, plot twists and accusations.

I spent the whole afternoon  in preparation for the event by cooking up such middle eastern delights as meze (not so much cooking there) lamb tagine,  couscous, basboosa and baklava. Then I turned my attention to the dining room,  with the aid of some of my many scarves. I didn’t realise I had such eastern taste in scarves till I came to look for a few to use as drapes. With that and a few candles and lamps we soon had a very passable kasbah.

My Iraqi friend, Maddi made me a cd of middle eastern music that was exactly right for the occasion.  Thanks, Mads.

Everyone really got into the spirit of it. The plot, as normal, was virtually unfollowable and the murderer turned out to be Boofuls. Not that any of us managed to work that out. Here are a few photos of the night.

Motley Crew
The Rev smoking an invisible pipe

That beard got around a a bit

Oktoberfest Farce

It seemed a bit odd really, planning an Oktoberfest party when the temperature was in the mid 20’s and everyone was dying of the heat. Still, never one to let minor details spoil a good family party we got on with it.

Since the builder went AWOL last week Boofuls and me spent a fair proportion of Friday night trying to tidy the place up by moving some of the building debris. Of course we’ve thought the job would have been finished weeks ago so we’ve been putting the gardening and general maintenance on hold till it was done. That was a mistake. That just meant having made the decision to have a soiree  the tidy/clean up operation took us far longer than it would normally have done.

Boofuls, as normal, headed straight for the power tools. Out came the strimmer. Oh, the strimmer. bane of my life, that strimmer.

After much cursing he managed to get it to start and he zipped around the garden with it till it was too dark to see.  At one point he came searching for me, looking more than a bit sheepish.

“I’ve got a bit of bad news.”


” I’ve strimmed that plant that was growing really well up the pergola.”

” Are you feckin’ kidding me? You’ve destroyed my beautiful honeysuckle?”  Fair to say I was not impressed. Mr Fecking Strimmer and his deadly strimming machine are guilty of murdering many a prized plant through careless slips of the wire.  I’m certain he wants to live in a world devoid of any kind of plant life.

Can I have a proper gardener, please? One who doesn’t see anything green thing that is stupid enough to pop it’s head up above ground level as fair game for anihilating?

I ferried barrow loads of topsoil, it’s amazing how much strength you have when you’re fuming,  down to fill up the crater next to the pergola, bunting-ed it up ( the pergola, not the topsoil), heaved huge stones to the bottom of the garden where they can live happily out of sight and out of mind, and generally titivated things up. Here is the gussied up pergola with the lights on. I had to wait till it was dark to take it because they’re solar lights and don’t come on till dusk. Still, it makes it atmospheric, doncha think?

sunset and fairy lights

Saturday morning saw us carrying on with the clean up operation. The outside loo was spring cleaned, a sunshade was attached to the top of the pergola. What a bloody farce that was!  Boofuls bashed his head as he climbed up the ladder and I leaned  on a carelessly placed drawing pin and punctured my hand.

Fair to say that at that very point the idea of hosting a party was not looming high on my list of things I really wanted to do.

Bludgeon someone to death with a blunt instrument;  now that was looking mighty attractive.

Boofuls and me stood glowering at each other   hot, sweaty, tired and stressed, both wanting to blame the other for our respective injuries even though intellectually we knew that it wasn’t their fault.  Eventually we started to laugh at the ridiculousness of it all and got on with the rest of the job without too much difficulty.

Cheesy German oompah music was downoaded onto my ipod to be played stupidly loud as the family arrived. I made a huge, ‘Welcome to Oktoberfest’ banner in red, gold and black. After struggling to attach it to something we finally managed to staple it between the stable and the outdoor kazi. Shame that the wind. (wind from the weather, not wind emanating from the kazi) destroyed it in no time but it was nice as people arrived.

It all looked and sounded a bit incrongruous in blazing hot sunshine but never mind, improvisation is the key.

The family arrived.

The Rev and Gem arrived nursing monster hangovers from the previous evening. Len and Lashes arrived with Lashes tired, emotional and still not feeling well from her bout of illness from last week. The dog arrived and was not a happy dog at having to be  tethered because of the horses in the next field. Boofuls and me were knackered from  a few busy and stressful weeks and all the preparation  work we’d had to do to make the place fit to receive visitors. The clingons arrived, picking up on the mood  and lack of energy of the adults, sat quietly  and announced they wouldn’t be taking part in any yodelling contests, thank you. All in all as Okteberfests go it would probably win the prize for being the most subdued one ever.  The beer and the conversation struggled to flow all afternoon and evening.

We did manage to summon up some energy, after a lot of chivvying on my part,  for the beer bucket relay race which was a team game that involved filling a tankard  with ‘beer’ from a bucket , racing up the hill while trying not to spill said beer and emptying it into another bucket before running back down the hill and passing the tankard to the next team member. Points were lost for spillage and harrassment of other players.  First team to transfer all of the contents of the bucket wins. That was the highlight of the day .

What a shame  I managed to pull a calf muscle when it was my turn. I spent the rest of the day hobbling round like an old lady. Maybe I’m getting a bit too old for uphill relay races?

Still, the small mountain of sausages, crusty bread, sauerkraut and bbq warmed camembert got a welcome reception. That little lot disappeared in no time, as did the strudel that followed it all.

So. That was Oktoberfest. My failed attempt to cheer up a miserable couple of weeks. This photo of Dangerous sums the whole day up beautifully:

I'm having such fun

Maybe I just shouldn’t have bothered. Or maybe, just maybe, the universe is telling me I should just lie low for a while.