Tag Archives: Party

A weak week


It’s funny to think that just over a week ago we were building up pavilions (that a few short hours later were to be dramatically felled in a storm), we were rehearsing the Gay Gordons (which we wouldn’t need because we had never intended our garden to become a mud wrestling arena) and we were blowing up space hoppers (which were then inappropriately used as footballs by small boys, providing one of the first catalysts of the evening for the ADHD one’s meltdowns).

It seems like such a long time ago. And yet, it was only just over a week.

A little more than 7 days ago, a friend asked me if I ran on adrenaline. I could give her the concrete answer that I definitely wasn’t being rejuvenated by sleep. After all, I was only averaging 4 hours a night. I thought about the question a little, and decided, after looking up at the sun-filled sky, that I must run on solar power.

I stared at the sun (and the sun, after I’d recovered from my blind spot, twinkled back down at me) and I smiled. Full of giddy anticipation of cake and guests and sushi and cake and dancing and space hoppers and actual hopping, and cake and showing the Germans just how to do the Gay Gordons and the highlight: an extra stubborn piñata donkey.

And then a bloody great grey cloud arrived, cut off my energy supply and I was forced to down cheap bubbly wine and Duracell batteries homemade mint chocolate truffles.

I can’t believe that we were still living and celebrating the festivities just over 168 hours ago!

I’ve spent the days since waving goodbye to friends, attacking overflowing bins, finding little surprises I hid from myself in the midst of my I-think-I’m-funny boozed-up state, pouring through photos, wondering if I should vacuum the confetti off the grass and devouring the Olympics.

Yesterday, I overdid myself in the latter activity, it would seem.

I should inform you: I’m completely useless at sport.

I can’t throw a javelin more than a meter.

Seriously.

My P.E. teacher used to despair of me.

And it all got much worse when I accidentally swivelled too far and lunged the discus into my terrified team…

I suspect that my teacher had had a premonition. I’d been given a beanbag.

I really hold no malice at having always been the last to be picked for school sports teams. I suppose my classmates feared for their own safety whilst in my vicinity.

Despite my own inadequacies though,  I still love to watch the pole vaulters and the pommel horsers and the sprinters and I had a lovely, restoring nap during the men’s 10,000 meters.

But I think I must have cheered/clapped/cried too much as Ennis strode comfortably to victory in her 800 meter heptathlon finale.

Because, when I woke up this morning, something with my back was slightly awry.

Despite the assistance of painkillers, I have not been able to make the dinner. Or do the washing. Or go to the loo without some assistance in the dropping of the drawers department.

Bugger. So this is what it’s like to be in your 40s!

The party – not


It all started with the bloody salad.

I asked Joni what she wanted to do for her 16th birthday and she informed me that she’d like a big party. Not just with her friends, but also with mine. My friends are pretty cool, I learned. I had suspected exactly that fact myself, to be honest.

When we totted up the numbers and guestimated how many people would actually attend, we figured between 45 and 50.

Gulp.

I’ve learned since living in Germany, that it’s always best to plan for the higher number of guests. Besides, I freak out about there not being enough to eat at every single event we host. My approach nowadays is to go with the motto ‘more is good’.

Now, cooking for 50 is not the simplest task, so we opted for a barbecue and salad. That also fitted well with Joni’s interpretation of a ‘chilled’ party.

So the perfect plan evolved:

  • Guests to arrive at a time suited to them, but after 3pm
  • Pavilions in the garden to protect from sun/rain
  • Coffee/hot chocolate/cake in the afternoon
  • Salad/BBQ in the early evening
  • Karaoke in the later evening, with dried snacks and leftover cake

What could go wrong?

It started with the bloody salad.

A few days before the party, as I listed down recipes of cous cous salad and mozzarella salad, as I entertained images of luscious salad leaves and dipping cucumber in hummus, the news transmitted: E.coli had broken out in Northern Germany and we shouldn’t trust leaves or tomatoes or cucumbers.

Leaves, tomatoes and cucumbers were in every single recipe I’d listed. All those lovely recipes which could be made on the morning of the party and then just sit in the fridge, awaiting consumption.

I tore up my list and stared at a blank page. I sent out alarm calls on Facebook.

Then the news said, “Stop! Wait!”

“Perhaps it isn’t the fault of the rosy red tomato, the crunchy, crisp cucumber or the satisfying, luscious salad leaves. No. Perhaps the fault is actually that of another raw vegetable. But sorry, we’re at a loss as to which one. Perhaps you should still avoid the lettuce and the cucumber and the tomato. Because we don’t really know and people are dying.”

The panic rose in me slightly.

Should I give my guests a bunch of frozen vegetables?

Should I just pop a multi-vitamin tablet in a little schnapps glass and be done with the whole sorry situation?

For a while, I focused on potato salad. After all, the potatoes would be cooked, wouldn’t they? But to be honest, I felt very nervous. Potato salad is a traditional dish here. And I’ve only ever made it a few times. And never perfectly. Everyone, in these here parts, has an opinion on how the perfect potato salad should taste and what consistency it should have. And my husbands opinion is one of the loudest. I felt very anxious about doing it wrong. Friends encouraged me. But my husband looked a little scared at the prospect and told me, in the nicest possible way,  how it’s “a lot of work” and “so difficult to get right” and that I “don’t have the correct potatoes” (I did fight back – we didn’t have any potatoes, I would have to buy the correct potatoes, naturally). But I ‘got’ his mistrust of my cooking gentle concern. So, I opted out of the potato salad choice.

My anxiety rose as the days went by and then, two days before the party, we attended someone else’s birthday celebration.

My friend had also found herself faced with exactly the same problem and had solved it by offering watermelon and freshly picked strawberries from a local strawberry field.

Aha! I thought. Aha!

A new list started. I decided we could also barbecue vegetables like peppers, courgettes, aubergines and corn.

Now, you may have thought that, considering that I had spent my previous days philosophising about the safety of vegetables, attending parties (we also attended another party earlier that week), doing challenges from my 101 list, as well as the normal stuff like yelling around about homework and taking children to the doctors, that I would have, at this point, felt some blind panic about the state of the house (apparently I have forgotten how to do housework) and the work that I had to do to get my house in order.

But no. Instead of obsessing about the disarray my house was in, what I actually did was focus on the weather. Yes. The weather. Because at the beginning of the week we had heat and glorious sunshine, but the forecast for the end of the week looked decidedly uncertain. The idea of rain was entertained, then a few days later the proposition of a storm was offered.

Pavilions do protect against slight rain, as in, drizzle. But I can tell you, they will be blown away in a storm, offering no protection whatsoever to the windswept guest, sitting at the collapsible table underneath.

And although my living room is a nice size, with furniture and 50 guests the saying ‘sardines in a tin’ came fretfully to mind. Certainly, there would be no space for dancing to accompany the wailing harmonies on the karaoke mike. No. And I have to tell you, my feet can’t stay still when I hear a musical beat (except that lift music – then I just hold my hands over my ears and scream “Please, oh please switch it off!”). Which would therefore mean that Joni’s guests would not only have been squashed, but they would have been bruised and battered, too.

As I previously said, you may have thought I would have been cleaning the house for days on end before the ascendation of so many guests. But actually, I wasn’t. And when I wasn’t staring at blank recipe lists, swearing at Facebook or studying meteorology, I could be found planting things in the garden. I have to tell you that through the 101 challenges, I am starting to really ‘dig’ my garden. Pardon the pun.

My husband, lovely as he is, excused my behaviour. He told me, “There’s no point in cleaning anyway, they’ll,” a finger pointed towards those pesky precious kids, “just mess it up again!”

Anyway, I thought to myself, “We’ll have all of Friday to clean and some of Saturday, too…

… Although we’ll have to put up the pavilions as well, decorate, bake cakes and go to the florist. Joni, herself, has drama rehearsals so can’t really help, and Lori’s off on a school project… But there will still be time to go strawberry picking, shopping for all of the party food and drink, make up the guest room and prepare the veg. My husband has the Friday off . All will be well…”

Looking back I wonder if I was in some dazed, exhausted state, too tired to actually be fazed by the whole thing.

Friday morning arrived and Aden, my adorable son, thoughtfully reminded me that today is the day the classes are presenting their projects. Song, dance and artwork were to be celebrated and he expected us both to be there. Proud parents. He’d given himself the role of security guard in his classroom, so that none of his playmobil figures “would be nicked!”

Of course, I had forgotten, just like I’d forgotten to collect and take the arty objects for the project to school the week before.

Damn my memory!

“Yes, we’ll come. Of course, we’ll be there.”

And we were. And the whole morning was gone. Sunk. Lost. As far as party preparations were concerned.

We ate lunch together. The four of us. The two little ones, my husband and I. And I must admit that I felt somewhat twitchy. The two older girls wouldn’t be home for hours yet and on arrival, the party girl herself would have to go into study mode as she had an exam on the Monday, plus homework to do, no doubt. My two most valuable workers were currently unavailable, but my two demolishers little ones were 100% present and correct.

I perused my list and decided that the first job should be picking strawberries. The small ones could help and after that we could then head on to the florist with the little vases I’d bought in the One-Euro shop. I wanted the florist to prepare a simple centrepiece for each of the three collapsible tables.

I borrowed money from the children, having realised I had none left of my own and we set off with a large white bowl, but without the three small white vases.

The strawberry field looked empty, but ever the optimist, I insisted that we all leave the car and then my son spotted the notice ‘Closed until Saturday’. Apparently the strawberries needed to ripen somewhat.

My heart pounded. Another job for Saturday. OK.

Florist. Not OK. No vases.

So we drove home to my husbands unnecessarily cheery, “You were quick!” and picked up the vases.

It seems to me, that there happens to be a direct correlation between having to be somewhere with a matter of some urgency and something happening, like, for example, getting stuck behind a tractor or in this case me being unable to park my car.

I drove in and out of the space, probably thirty times, stopping for passing traffic and hanging around until ‘waiters’ finally realised I wasn’t relinquishing my space, just practising driving backwards and forwards into it.

Probably, I’m now on one of those ‘women parking’ videos on youtube.

The flowers looked lovely, but I’ll be honest and tell you they’d all withered somewhat by the next day, as, true to form, I’d forgotten to put water in the base of the vases.

My husband had started making a banoffee pie, but I still had to start my baking as I needed a small amount of one specific flour type from the supermarket. Had I been more organised, I could have actually baked the dough a few days in advance, as advised in the recipe.

My husband took a cooking break and we headed off to the supermarket, with a comprehensive list and two tearaways. Then the battle really commenced as we propelled our way around the aisles with not one but two trolleys.

Every two minutes the battle cry could be heard, “No, you’re not having that, we’re buying for the party!!!”

We strove towards enemy lines (in the form of the checkout) and at around that point my mobile rang.

My sweet sixteen year old, was not her usual calm, chilled self, rather she would be better described as near hysterical.

Her younger sister Lori, had called home and decided that she did not want to take two buses to go home, and thought it a great idea to walk. Alone. Through the forest. At 6.30pm.

I told Joni to call her straight back. It turned out she’d forgotten her mobile and used a teacher’s. The teacher, on hearing the news, of course, panicked too, and asked Joni to contact her as soon as Lori had been located.

Meanwhile, I abandoned my husband and the shopping and raced out of the supermarket, which is in fact about 200m from the school.

The little one, who is apparently suffering from some sort of abandonment disorder presently, decreed that her presence would also be required in looking for her elder sister. I raced hobbled to the school, with a four-year-old draped around my leg and of course, missed the unafraid one.

The following few minutes went something like this:

I said “bugger” and “shit” quite a few times and dragged a four-year-old through the various streets around the school. I approached more inhibited children and asked them if they knew/had seen/had any knowledge of the whereabouts of my child. I lost a kilo with the attempted running, weightlifting and the cardio workout the panic initiated. People looked at me like I was rather odd.

Realising I had no chance of catching her up, what with a now crabbit small person glued to me, and my minor detour around the school grounds, I stumbled towards the car, where the family united in throwing all newly purchased goods into the boot at high speed.

We also united in forgetting that we had intended to visit the other neighbouring supermarket, as not all of the items on my comprehensive list had been available.

We finally found the brave one obliviously wandering along the path leading home, having walked through the forest completely alone.

She was unfazed. I ranted somewhat. She suddenly decided she would not do it again.

We pulled up at the house and I remembered: the rest of the shopping…

I decided, what with all the drama, I’d leave it to Saturday.

The man of the house finished his pie, then promptly nodded off, so I sent him off to bed and finally started on my intricate little cakes. It was 8pm.

I read the recipe. And reread it again,  but I could not find the instructions on how to make the dough. I found this a little strange because the measurements were so exact: 227g of flour, for instance. Why would there be no instructions on how to make the dough on such a precise recipe? After the sixth read-through, I abandoned all hope and just threw all of the ingredients into a bowl and attempted to mix. When this approach didn’t work out so well, I got dirty and used my hands.

The consistency however, was still not right so I thought, “What the hell!” and piled in the odd tablespoon of flour. Or two.

Still too difficult to work with, I decided to chill it in the fridge. Finally cold and a bit more stable, I popped little balls of dough into a form, then pressed them out to make the correct shape.

The recipe dictated, I should leave them in the freezer for around ten minutes, to help them keep their shape and stop them rising so much. Joni needed to make space, so she took several food items out of the freezer and we replaced them with the baking trays. “Not to worry!” I informed her, “We’ll pop them right back in shortly.”

I shouldn’t say, “Don’t worry!” It’s like I’m setting myself up for a fall. Because, hours later, I noticed that the silly helpful girl had not replaced a tub of ice cream (I couldn’t even polish off the slushy remains because I’d found myself in the impossible situation of having to test mountains of dough).

The more I tasted, the more I thought, that the pastries just didn’t taste right, so I picked up the recipe and glanced through it again.

And there, plain as the nose on my face, were full and clear instructions on how to make the dough.

So I rammed the little crumbly things into a Tupperware, cleaned the baking trays and started the whole process. All. Over. A-gain.

I:

  • Weighed out each ingredient precisely
  • Drank an espresso
  • Mixed the dough as per the recipe
  • Opened a bottle of coke
  • Glugged down some of the coke
  • Made little balls and pushed them into shape in the form
  • Thought about vodka
  • Took several expensive products out of the freezer
  • Popped the trays into the freezer
  • Staggered around in the vicinity of the espresso machine
  • Popped the trays into the oven
  • Listened for the beep with intermittent slurps and burps
  • Pricked the little doughs and cooked them for a final time
  • Answered the telephone to an uncontacted, frantic teacher
  • Calmed the teacher and apologised
  • Thought of vodka again
  • Took the trays out of the oven and left them to cool, so the pastries would stay intact
  • Sat on the sofa for a little rest
  • Slept for two hours on the sofa
  • Carefully took the little pastries out of the forms
  • Tested the little pastries
  • ‘Accidentally’ broke some of the little pastries, so was forced to eat them to hide the evidence
  • Started cleaning the kitchen where I discovered defrosted, inedible, expensive products
  • Swore
  • A lot
  • Disposed of defrosted, inedible, expensive products

I headed to bed and instructed the alarm clock, then showing 3.10am to wake me at 8am.

I lay there thinking of strawberry fields and shopping and pavilions and how to get away with minimal cleaning.

A voice penetrated my dreams, “Mum, mum, it’s Joni! She feels sick.”

I couldn’t find my legs, let alone move them so I slapped at my husband and said, “Joni feels sick.”

He staggered, a person drunk on sleep, to her room and checked her over and handed her a bowl. Then thudded back into bed. It was 4.15am.

At 4.30 the voice intruded again. “She’s being sick.”

Still, my legs evaded me and I sent the man again.

Slowly, a guilty feeling flowed over me, forcing me awake and I rose and lumbered into the bedroom.

The poor child wretched and filled the bowl. My husband sent me back to bed.

But I couldn’t sleep. I thought of party guests and cake and strawberry fields. Putting up pavilions, and shopping or not?

And I thought of E.coli and sickness and bloody diarrhoea.

And I tossed and I turned and then the clock beeped 8am.

By midday, most of the guests had been contacted and informed about the cancellation. We had problems getting in touch with one as she’d moved house, but we got her eventually. An hour before the party should have started.

Joni did not have E.coli. In fact, the very next morning, after a plate of scrambled egg and a piece of toast, she made a complete and full recovery.

I, eventually, celebrated the fact that I hadn’t picked enough strawberries for 50 people, had made space in the freezer for the barbecue meat, could freeze the little cakes in preparation for the next party and had avoided the housework, once again.

Eurovision Party: Success?


Another challenge is completed!! Last Saturday evening we had a Eurovision Party and I do believe it was a rip-roaring success.

I cleaned and polished and the children, finally prepared flags. I shopped and cooked and Reinhold prepared score sheets.

After two weeks of searching high and low, I finally found cocktail stick flags for the cheese board. I think they must have been left over from the World Cup. If you hadn’t known the Eurovision was taking place in Germany this year, then you wouldn’t have discovered that Germany was holding the Eurovision this year very easily. Unless you live in Düsseldorf, that is. Or you listen to the radio regularly, then you may have just got the slightest hint that something was going on.

The guests arrived from 6pm onwards, the picture of generosity. I rediscovered that they’re amazing cooks. Between us we prepared: tortilla, cous cous salad, home-made bread, wild herb butter, mushroom butter, chilli, Greek salad, salmon quiche, melon wrapped in parma ham, sausage rolls, Swedish cake with cinnamon, dates cuddled in bacon (yum), insalata caprese, baguettes and of course a European cheese board. To top it all off, one guest barbecued German speciality sausages in the garden.

As you may imagine, I was in my element!

And that’s even before the beer and the bubbly started.

We all ate, drank and be’d merry. A few of us danced. Most of us awarded points, based on whatever points system we found appropriate, after another sip… Some of us became rather loud, erm… cheering and booing and laughing and stuff.

I gained at least two kilos.

And I won’t lose them anytime soon, what with the string of invites to breakfast/lunch/dinner…

Someone even drank the Heineken. And the Guinness.

We finished off the night, OK, the morning with chocolates and biscuits from Britain and Belgium.

Then one of the guests even stayed over and helped to tidy up!

The only thing that went wrong was that, after asking the guests permission to photograph them and the party in action, and put those photos on my blog: I forgot to take the pictures!!

Also this week: you may see one or two new challenges on my list. I watched a new film, Die hard 4 only to realise TEN MINUTES before the end that I’ve already seen it. So I couldn’t add it on.

I’ve started a few of the bigger tasks like doing a home therapy with my son and I’ve been looking for a spa to take my daughter to. We’ve decided that that will be our bonding trip.

On top of that there’s some big news: Emma has joined us on our challenge. She’s the person whose blog I first saw the challenge on and I’m delighted that we’ll all be working together. You can see her list at:
A matter of choice

Have you checked out how my fellow challengers are doing recently?
The Laughing Housewife
Perfecting Motherhood

Eurovision week: the challenge strides on


We’re having a wild week here. Tears. Tantrums (mostly mine). Birthdays. Planning Eurovision parties. Not having flags for said party made. The house is, quite frankly, in chaos (though the towels do look nice in that cupboard). Tummy upsets. Heat wave. Either that or the thermometer’s broken. Did we really hit 32ºC? Smashed glass. Again. Doctors. Nose bleeds. Dying fish. Vomit. Play rehearsals. Tests.

I have been searching everywhere for European drinks. Alcoholic and non-alcoholic. On Tuesday I drove around looking for a Getränkemarkt. A large drink shop. I drove around in my usual way. Taking wrong turnings and exasperating the kids. Anyway, my random driving led me to pass by a store with the name ‘Glöbel Getränkemarkt’. I’ve hit the jackpot, I assumed (easily convincing myself that that must mean ‘Global drinks store’) and entered the shop, filled with the hope of a true optimist.

Just to let you know, I decided a while ago that our Eurovision party should include food and drink from various different European countries. But, I have been having problems making that dream a reality. Having visited several supermarkets, I’ve discovered that nearly all drinks are made in Germany.

(Sorry for the brief interruption, but I just had to run out and bring the washing in, I had put the loud bang I had previously heard down to sonic boom, but the second one made me instead suspicious that a predicted thunderstorm may well be on its way. Anyway, outside, I heard another noise and saw the neighbour hoovering his garden. Sorry, but what kind of mentaller, hoovers their garden? I suspect when they direct people to their home they explain, “Walk past the neighbours from hell’s house, yeah, the one with cobwebs on the fly nets and toys spilling over the lawn (ours) and on to the pristine house, with polished steps and hoovered walls (theirs).”)

Where was I? Ah, yes, drinks. So, filled with excitement, I entered the store to find German beer, German wine, and German juice. After scanning every single bottle in the massive assortment, I finally found an Austrian wine, a Portuguese wine, an Italian wine, Orangina (which I know is originally French, but was produced, so it seems here in Germany, some Russian Berry juice apparently prepared here also by Schweppes (but at least it says ‘Russian’ on the label) and some French Hello Kitty fizzy stuff. It seems to actually be French. I also found a six-pack of Guinness and Heineken. Phew. And that was it. No other European anything at all.

On my return home I complained to my husband about the lack of globalness in the Global drink shop. He had no idea where I’d been, so I fished out the receipt, which highlighted the name Göbel. Ah, so a name, nothing actually stating Global at all then. :oops:

These are the types of things that happen when one errs to optimism.

My husband analysed my purchases with a big grin upon his face. Apparently the Austrian wine is from Salzberg, not Salzburg and is actually, well, German. And the Portuguese wine states on the back, ‘German Quality wine’?!?

I’ve decided to dole out the Italian wine, the French bubbly (I found in another shop) and the Guinness first. Then hope that all the guests are so pissed, they’ll not notice that the Portuguese wine is not actually from Portugal at all and when we finally hit the ‘Austrian’, they won’t be able to see the little misplaced ‘e’.

Perhaps, by that time, I can even coerce them into making the still unprepared flags…

Also this week:

I planted a lovely bush in the garden with my friend, Gabi, on Monday. It’s still alive! Probably due to her green fingered influence. I have dutifully watered it every day. So far. Another friend, Frauke, gave an inspired me a couple of cuttings on Tuesday. I planted them as instructed and full of that bloody optimism. But in the spirit of truthfulness, they don’t look so happy. Sorry plants. Sorry Frauke. I keep soaking them with water as I do the small tree that hasn’t grown a leaf in two years. That and sending happy thoughts.

In fact, I’ve been so motivated by all of the outdoor planting, I decided to re-pot some of the houseplants. I believe they are very grateful. Well, they no longer seem to keep throwing themselves on the floor as I walk by, in a suicidal fashion.

And I tried out two new delicious recipes: lemon chicken and tomato, mozzarella and red pesto salad.

Don’t forget to check out how The Laughing Housewife and Perfecting Motherhood are doing with their challenges!

Blog-o-versary


Today is a very special day for me. My blog is a whole one year old (feel free to shout out and sing, Hip Hip Hooray’s).

As part of the celebrations, from today I am starting a fantastic and exciting new project with the lovely Tilly Bud over at The Laughing Housewife entitled 101 in 1001. Whereby both Tilly and I will try to complete 101 of our own challenges in 1001 days.

Considering some of the tasks I’ve set myself, I have no idea when I’m going to have time to sleep, so it may be that as of tomorrow, all you’ll read on here is a load of old gibberish. ;-)

Feel free to check in on my progress at any time by clicking on the tab above labelled ’101 in 1001′.

The last blog year has been a mass of ups and… actually I’m still waiting for the downs!! So as you might imagine, especially if you know me personally, or if you’ve read more than one post on here (and if you haven’t: run along now and click your way through) that I’ve spent most of my year showing my children my excited face. Being children, they have, of course, learned to mirror it. So on that note, I hope that the next blog year goes as well (or even better) – not for me you understand, but for the children ;-). We don’t want them going around looking all maudlin. Do we now?

The year of the big 0


As you may have noticed I have not been blogging so much of late.

No, it’s not the fact that four children take up an incredible amount of my time.

I have been a little ill, but that’s also not the main reason for me abandoning my post.

My desertion derives from my excessive levels of celebrating. My festivities have taken me to such levels that my fingertips have no longer been able to tap the light fantastic across the keyboard.

It used to be that the first half of my calendar, until about the middle of July to be exact, screamed out one birthday event after another. But after a set July date, everything calmed right down to a ‘from time to time’ occasional occurrence.

In recent years however, with the growth of the family and the addition of new friends, the tide has turned. Well,  the celebrations during the second half of the year are at least able to equal those in the first half.

And this year is even more special. Three friends have married within four months of one another. One is now engaged. And several are pregnant.

Furthermore, a growing trend has meant that since September we have had a constant stream of invitations to birthdays ending in the number 0. In fact, in just the past week, we have been to a 30th and a 40th  party, wished a happy 40th birthday to a friend in another land and just for a little icing on the cake, sent our daughter to her school friend’s, yes, you guessed it, birthday party.

Now, it’s not just the parties themselves that take up my time. It’s the present buying. And even more time-consuming, the actual thinking up of what present I should  purchase.

I like to give my friends something I think they will particularly like (I’m sure I don’t always get it right) but honestly, I really, really do try. But lately I have found myself quite often, literally,  stumped. And a couple of times I’ve actually found myself panic buying (never good – I recently bought a mass of chocolate for a diabetic).

Oops!

So, I’m sure you now understand, that the time I would usually set aside for blogging has been somewhat taken over by mass shopping trips and the afore-mentioned partying. But I have also been doing something else and that is thinking about my own ever looming 40th birthday. Speeding towards me at an imposing rate, I have now only a little over a year and a half before I reach the milestone.

And it has taken me all of this time to realize how different I am from the people who surround me.

You see all of the (very lovely) parties I have been to lately have been in restaurants or hired halls with food being delivered by a caterer. The food has on all occasions been delicious and the atmosphere friendly and inviting.

But the image I have had in my head, to celebrate my fortieth year on the planet, is of a bouncy castle in the garden.

I discussed this notion with my husband recently, who informed me that people would love it. They would find it such a thoughtful idea for their kids.

Then he looked at me strangely as I meekly admitted, “It was for the grown ups.”

Of course, what makes my suggestion somewhat more ludicrous, is the fact that I have both a dodgy knee and a dodgy foot.

*Please note any children in attendance at bouncy castle party, would be permitted, if shoe-less, to bounce on said castle*

I’m not so handy…


No. I haven’t disappeared off into hibernation. Even though winter has well and truly arrived.

No. I had an accident.

Yes, another one.

This time I managed to fall UP the stairs. :o
Smacking my hand firstly, on the metal banister, and secondly, on the wooden step.

Of course, the injured hand is my right hand. Because I am right-handed.

And, you know, I am REALLY right-handed. Not one of those souls who have the good fortune to have almost as much ability with one hand as the other. I definitely don’t fit into the ambidextrous category. My left hand, I would say, is just there to support my right hand. It is completely useless in any sort of solitary state.

In the past week, I have discovered, that my left hand cannot even master a small tick in a rather large box, that could be presented as legible.

It cannot stir soup without splashing the majority of the contents over the ceramic hob.

And it can only loosely operate a computer mouse when it’s guided directionally by my protruding tongue.

Fortunately, the doctor informed me yesterday, that I’ll have full use of my lovely hand again in four to six weeks. WHAT?????


Overnight I’ve figured out that my sentence will only take then, another two and a half weeks.

After all, I fell last Sunday, and it’s now Tuesday. That means I’ve already served around a week and a half. And no way, Jose am I suffering the full six-week stretch.

But even with my optimistic maths, in the next TWO weeks I have two birthday parties to organise (which includes baking and decorating cakes) and a wedding to fly to, with two suitcases and a three-year old to tend.

Shit.

But at least the two fingers and a thumb are now poking out of my bandage and have managed to type this article. With of course, some support from my afore-mentioned left hand. So it can’t all be bad.

How do you think they will cope with constructing a princess cake?

At this point the writer would like to thank her husband, and four children for all of their help with the washing, cooking, chopping, and general chores and looks forward to using your hands your assistance in the near future. :-)

Partied out


We’re all partied out.
Pooped.
Drained.
The walls know what we’ve been through.
Again.

The neighbours have heard the noise.
The local store has had a run on Lego toys.

A child wakes in the morning
States her tummy aches
‘I ate too much yesterday, Mummy”
But soon heaps breakfast cereal onto her plate.

A Hawaiian Party
Trampoline to spring
Volcano Birthday cake
Pass the coconut around the ring.

And a little boy
Who bounced far too hard
Landed on his recently operated nose,
A guest of ours is marred.

Screams echoed through the garden
Everybody froze.
Only for a moment
On the party goes.

Children in the garden.
Kiddies in the lounge.
Girls hula hooping
Boys trying to burn us down.

Singing Happy Birthday to the sparkler on the cake
Parents of those 19 dears will soon be on their way.
On the horizon, children’s bedtime and a bottle of wine:
Hip Hip Hooray!

Looking at the debris:
Wrappers on the floor,
Kebab sticks harpooned in the once green lawn.
Olives uneaten,
Remnants of cake.
Once empty fruit punch bowl
Now a yellow-brown lake.

Children finally off to bed.
The tidying begun,
We look towards our bottle of wine
Perhaps this time we have won.

Take a seat upon the sofa
Cuddle for a moment or two.
Think of that relaxing stuff, just meant for me and you…
Eyes close for a second
Hold on I’ll be right there
But then I am just sleeping
And dribbling in your hair…

Volcano Birthday Cake