Tag Archives: party

The Captains and the Kings depart

I was going to title this post The tumult and the shouting dies but the post was’t quite right and when I wiped it out by accident (yet again!) I couldn’t be bothered to retrieve it.
That’s how it came to be rewritten with a grander title. It’s not quite as accurate, because we had plenty of tumult and shouting, but a distinct shortage of Captains and Kings. As the memory fades a little I’m feeling distinctly more upbeat about it. It wasn’t all singing and sandwiches (though I admit that they did form a large part of the proceedings), we also had dancing and two different slideshows from Julia.
It took her several weeks to perfect the slideshows – I will never get Chariots of Fire and The Magnificent Seven out of my head. At one time I was hearing them so often I was waking up humming them.
I missed some of the events because I was confined to the kitchen after forgetting to put the snacks in the oven. That’s also why there aren’t many photographs.
Fortunately I was on hand when Santa called and gave out the memory boxes Dave and Jayne had made. They’ve been beavering away in Dave’s shed making the boxes and putting individual names on them.
There were a few tears towards the end. There was also a certain amount of unsuitable competitiveness from one of the teams in the Christmas Quiz. I’m not saying which one, but my constant viewing of quiz shows seems to have paid off…
At the time it was all a little sad, but as I write a couple of days later it seems a lot more upbeat. With parents and group members and various other people (in person or by email) we’ve had a lot of positive feedback. We couldn’t have done it without the group, so can’t take all the credit, but it does make you feel better.
I can’t think of a tidy way to end  the post, but in real life we did the washing up.

 

Get that party started

First event of the day – phone call from Number 1 son enquiring about the chance of a lift on Friday. Seems he’s bought so many presents that he won’t be able to carry them all. It’s his first Christmas since he started working full time. You can’t fault his generosity, but as a parent, I’d rather he invested it in National Savings Products for his future. (Yes, there’s no pleasing me, is there?)

We posted the last of the Christmas cards this morning – I’ve decided I really should stay in touch with more of my family rather than just meeting them at funerals, a sentiment expressed in several of the cards I’ve had this year.

When we drew up at the farm we had a phone call to tell us the taxi would be late. It seems the driver had managed to reverse in Vicki’s drive, put his back wheels on the lawn, and then get stuck by dropping the clutch and spinning the wheels.

Dave was here when we arrived, unloading the Christmas presents he has been making in his shed. Santa has many helpers at this time of year.

I’ve just been reminded that it’s nearly 11.00 and people will be expecting to eat at 12.00 – so I’m off to do the sandwiches.

Time flies…

 

The Final Countdown

Yes, it’s a song title today. I did think of a variation on the TV show Countdown but at 58 I’m not ready to admit that I’m part of the Countdown demographic. (See later comments on age).

I bought a new knife today. I’ve been meaning to get a proper boning knife for some time and the one I spotted in the cash and carry had all the attributes I wanted – a good handle and a cheap price ranking higher than the quality of the blade. I don’t tend to wear knives out – they simply disappear (thrown away by family members, I suspect, as I never lost a knife before I was married) or get left on top of a cooker ring. Yes, I’ve destroyed a couple of good knives like that. I suppose I could build a new handle from exotic hardwood as recommended in various specialist magazine, but I’m really not that good with my hands.

From the cash and carry (having bought drinks and snacks for the party tomorrow) I went to the supermarket to buy the rest of the stuff we needed.  It was stressful, as the nearest supermarket to the cash and carry isn’t one I normally go to and it was crammed with coffin dodgers all doing their best to either get in my way or ram me out of their way.

Now, I don’t mind the former (in moderation) as we all dawdle a bit, but the latter drives me mad. If I responded in kind, with a quick flick of the trolley and a spot of wheel to wheel charioteering I would (rightly) be castigated as a hooligan and a bully, but give me a cardigan and a blue rinse and I’m instantly allowed to carry on like Genghis Khan. I was actually rammed by a shopping scooter on Saturday when a woman of only middling years decided she wanted the space I was occupying.

Mentally I dragged her off the scooter and gave her a good kicking. But in real life I just moved, with a subdued “Tch!” to indicate disapproval.

 

I’m off to cut cabbage for the coleslaw now.

It’s nineteen hours until the party starts and twenty five hours until the project closes.

That must mean it’s also twenty five hours until my new life begins.

Seems a good time for a poem, and as Dylan Thomas conveniently died over 60 years ago I think I’m right in say he’s out of copyright so I can quote it in full.

Tomorrow, I will be blogging in a more kindly and cheerful manner.

🙂

Do not go gentle into that good night

Dylan Thomas, 19141953

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

 

In which the day improves

This is the promised Part II, in which the day improves. The morning wasn’t too good but the day improved as it went on. The group has baked mince tarts and iced the cake, so the party food is underway.  Our fully-qualified and licensed Santa Substitute has collected the suit and is going to practice tonight (he has already grown his beard at the sides ready for the Big Day). I can’t post a photo of Santa yet as it will spoil the surprise.

I managed to get a few Fieldfare photos, but with only one skittish individual as a subject it proved difficult. The bird was intent on eating hawthorn berries and when it was in the tree it was either moving or partially obscured by branches. When it was on the ground it spent most of the time in various hunched positions eyeing up berries. I did get a shot of a Yellowhammer, but it was small and blurred. It’s only the second one I’ve seen this winter, which is a bit annoying when you think they were regular visitors to the allotment during the summer.

And finally, after worrying that the guinea fowl had been absent all morning, they finally appeared, waddled across the yard and started to eat all the food under the bird feeders. I suppose it saves waste, but I’m not sure the Chaffinches were happy. A word of warning to the guinea fowl though, if people consider you good to eat it might be a good idea not to eat too much in the run up to Christmas.

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Guinea fowl on the prowl

It never rains, but it pours…

More pom-poms.

More dance rehearsals.

Creative differences with the big song.

Plus rain.

A visit from Social Services.

An accusing phone call from the Safeguarding Team.

Four weeks left and we are going to struggle to end on a high at this rate.

 

 

If that was a poem (and it could be, given the short lines and lack of rhyme) I’d call it Wet Wednesday Blues.

In fact, let’s have a go at that.

 

Wet Wednesday Blues

More pom-poms.

I wind wool in my sleep.

More dance rehearsals,

And rain on wet sheep.

Creative differences with the big song…

The sound of belly-dancing bells,

Give me dreams of being stalked by Santa.

If I had been a good boy, I would have presents, not 

A visit from Social Services

And an accusing phone call from the Safeguarding Team.

We are running out of luck,

But with just four weeks to go,

Do I give a fig?

 

I’ll be looking for at least one new career next year. Maybe I’ll cross poet off the list…

(Just to make it clear, we are in trouble for sorting something out ourselves and not involving Social Services and a ream of paper. Can’t really give much more detail – just to say that two weeks ago somebody not connected with the project made a remark that one of the group considered unacceptable and Julia sorted it out that day. It hasn’t happened again but it was reported to Social Services yesterday so they have to investigate.)

 

 

 

Bollywood and black skies

Today we had Bollywood dancing, chickens and black storm clouds, just to name a few things. And pom-poms. They are becoming the bane of my life. Julia says we need 20 per wreath and as everyone will want to make a wreath that’s 140 pom-poms. While Julia and some of the team were out measuring climate data (our penultimate session) I was left in charge of the pom-pom squad. I made six. The other three broke the plastic rings several times, failed to achieve pom-pomness in  a number of different ways and, finally, managed to break the only one they actually made.

Yes, they broke a pom-pom. Not the plastic ring, an actual woolly pom-pom.

That sound you can hear is my spirit breaking.

In the afternoon, with a squad of three, Julia managed four pom-poms.

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Proper free range chickens

The chickens are looking good – we finally have a distinct farmyard flock – feathered in a variety of blacks (from their Minorca fathers) and with a selection of head feathering from their Polish ancestors. They are looking quite distinctive, though they could probably do with a bit of new blood in the coming year as they are all the offspring of one hen and (possibly) two cockerels.

Weather has been iffy, as you can see from the photos, though it hasn’t broken yet, there are still a few autumnal leaves about and our Albanian taxi driver brought us some lemons picked from his father’s orchard when he visited last week. They always look much nicer than shop lemons, which I suspect are selected for thick skin and travelling qualities.  The Albanian lemons always seem thinner skinned and better-flavoured.

Finally, dancing. The whole group is practising for the dance at the Christmas Party. They are full of determination and have been watching instructional videos to get more moves. You have to admire their perseverance and work ethic. Originally just two of them were going to dance, after doing some belly-dancing at a project they attend on Fridays, but it has now spread so we have five dancers.

What with dancing and our rendition of I’ve got a lovely bunch of Coconuts this is going to be a party to remember, even before we get to the song about the coat of many colours.

As you look at the dance photos hum the tune of Jai Ho.

Now try to get it out of your head.

I think my work here is done…

Farewell to Mark

Mark is leaving us, as he is moving to the coast and it will be too far to come. It’s always a shame to lose someone, but it’s hard to be sad about it as he will be moving to a place with a nice sandy beach and an excellent chip shop. There are other things too, but with a beach and a chip shop what more do you really need?

Here are a few photos.

The cheery looking lady who keeps cropping up is Julie, who brings him across to the farm. We’ll miss her too, though she is a bit too cheerful for my tastes.

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Right, that’s enough emotion for one day. Back to work.