Glorious. That's what the weather was (and indeed still is). It was as though we had a hotline to the weather gods and we'd managed to be the 100th lucky caller, thereby getting exactly the weather we wanted.
And so, under blue skies and baking sun, we had our summer party. And amazingly it actually felt like summer. We had about 100 small naked boys tearing around the garden with one or two bemused looking girls sitting on the side wondering how they'd landed in a scene from the Lord of the Flies. They swam, they splashed in an inflatable pirate ship, they ate sprinkles out of ice cream cones filled with ice cream sauce, they bounced on trampolines, they stole handfuls of crisps when they thought no-one was looking, they generally ran amok being little boys and having a ball. We, the grown ups, got to watch while sipping on wine. Some of us were even brave enough to unleash our matronly figures to take a dip.
All in all, it was lovely. There was a slight problem on the catering front insomuch as I obviously thought that I was feeding the entire population of West Berkshire and wanted to ensure everyone also had seconds. So despite applying ourselves diligently all weekend, we still have several large vats of salad and potato bake loitering in the kitchen. Getting numbers right is a female problem. Men don't have this problem because if they were left in charge of the catering there would be one tomato and a lettuce leaf to share between all the guests as salad doesn't count as a food group. There would be a huge surplus of meat, but because it's meat, it would all be eaten by the men in question, so again, no wastage.
But women, we feel the need to make sure that every person must be able to have exactly what they want to eat. And that might well mean an entire bowl of salad to themselves. Which means you have to multiply that volume by the number of guests to ensure everyone has enough. What we should actually do is count the number of female adults and create a small portion of salad for each of them. They won't actually be able to sit still long enough to eat a big portion. The men won't eat salad and the kids think it's poison. So note to self: for future catering, less green stuff.
The company was marvellous and I'd like to take a moment here to mention a special friend who wonders how I can blog without actually discussing anyone in particular. She feels it would be beyond her abilities to not gossip. So Fifi. Here you are. A mention and a gossip just for you. Fifi was the lady who resolutely refused to believe that summer was actually here so came attired in long jeans and a long sleeve shirt and then spent the entire weekend trying to stop her face from turning purple. Next time mad woman, bring a swimsuit.
There was one down side to the party, which only came to my attention this morning. We had to remove our washing line (one of those twirly whirly ones) to make space for small beasties to charge about. This morning I had to hang washing on the line as we seem to have used every towel and swimsuit we own, not to mention that all of last week's laundry was ignored in the pre-party build up. So I attempted to re-erect the washing line.
I feel that the manufacturers of these devices should include some kind of instructions that are stuck on the central pole. I spent about 30 minutes simply trying to get the thing to open. In the process, I managed to break one of the supporting joists and tangled all of the lines. After much cursing and with burning arm muscles, I finally had the thing looking sort of like a washing line again. As I tried to hang the first shirt on the line, I realised that it wasn't quite right given that the shirt was draping on the grass due to a complete lack of tension in the lines. Five years later I had rethreaded the whole sodding thing. It's still not right. But at least the clothes are now dangling a foot off the ground instead of being on it. This is a job for husband.
And now I must pretend to actually do some work instead of staring wistfully out of the window at the sunshine. Although I think I might take a break mid morning to go for a swim....