Attempting to make it as a writer

Posts tagged ‘party’

Party Pranks

“Can I have a party?”

Five simple words, that struck horror into my soul.  Long gone are the days of jelly and ice-cream with pass the parcel; I had spent hours earlier wrapping.    Now a muffled memory is the magic show which turned peaches into goldfish, even the three fish have finally departed to a heavenly goldfish bowl in the sky.   The waterpark with a KFC just isn’t cool any longer and the idea of a paintballing or karting party does not appeal to 17 year olds.

Thinking I had weeks to get out of this one I waved the idea from my mind like a bad smell wafting through the kitchen.   Just like the odorous aroma it continued to return.   Our nightly discussions over our meal took on an wave of repetitiveness.

Can I have a party?

No?

Why not?

‘Because I say so’ no longer holds the same air of authority when your son is approaching 17 and stands a foot taller than you.   Sexy Sporty Dad and I had to come up with a stronger objection than that and quickly.

What is the real objection here; why are we scared of allowing a group of hormonal, drunk and emotional teenagers take over our home and kitchen for a night?  They might be sick.  They might break or destroy something precious like the house.  They may get themselves into trouble or injured and being hormonal drunk and emotional would probably not know how to deal with it.

You hear on the news about children having parties and the house being wrecked or someone taking something they shouldn’t even have access to and becoming seriously ill.   Are we being harsh tarring our son with the same brush as those other children who absent minded allowed their secret party publicised and then were unable to stop the devastation as they were overrun with professional party demolishers.

I attended a charity ball some while ago now.  I had spent many weeks convincing friends and colleagues to join one of my tables for a wonderful evening of eating, drinking and merriment.  As we all sat down one couple turned to another and said thanks for having our son for the evening.  A bemused look appeared on their faces until it was explained their kind son had invited the boy to spend the evening at the his house.

Alarm bells did not ring until another couple arrived after the first course and mentioned that theytoo had stopped at the party to control some over zealous party goers as they dropped their son at the same house.   It was the comment about bravery allowing the party while they were out  that proved to be the trigger to galvanise him.  He fled the table returning home to a very loud and uncontrolled party.   We saved his main course and pudding, he managed to get back again for coffee, biscuits and the main merriment.    The now cancelled party at home was being cleaned up by his son and the remaining sons from our group who were now all suitably chastised.

No 1 Son was at least asking to have his party and I knew he seemed to be on a circuit of partying since his GCSEs last summer.  It was a small group of about 20 who were working round the houses in some sort of rite of passage.   The clue was that the group had been allowed back to the houses even after the party had happened.

Of course I at that age attended parties regularly.  I had my own circle of friends who all attended the more formal fundraising events and my right of passage was assured as we drank a little too much, partied too much and learnt quickly how to disguise a hangover from our parents.

Something still prevented my agreement to this transition through teenagedom.

Is it that I remember my party held at home as a teenager.  My parents were away for the weekend, a rare event in itself, I was looking after not only the house but some of my siblings as well.  We decided to invite a few well chosen friends over for the evening with a few beers and wine.

The night went well, everybody enjoyed themselves.  There were no broken glasses, no ruined masterpieces and the inherited family furniture had no carvings.  In the words of every Scooby-Do criminal “we would have gotten away with it except for the pesky dog”.

after party blues

after party blues

Don’t ask!

I feigned serious concern to the dog’s wellbeing after all maybe she had contracted the infamous blue doggy ringworm.  Had she had a serious allergic reaction to the blueberry pie she may have helped herself to. Or maybe the mushrooms around the trees she liked to play near really magic : blue magic.

My bewildered parents may not have guessed the whole range of our duplicity had one of my younger siblings not dubbed us in.    The same sibling whose friends I had not allowed to the party on the grounds they could not get to our house out in the back of beyond and I was not spending the night driving them to and from when I had been given the remit of staying and looking after the house.

I use the nagging tactic a lot.  No 1 Son has watched me hassle, harass and hound people to attend fundraisers or to support my attempts to raise money for his team.  He has grown up watching my determination, deviousness and dedication to a cause so inevitably he was going to use the same tactics with us.

We agreed to the party on condition.   It was invitation only and not publicised on social media.  The house was clean before and after.  Nobody smoked inside and no-one was sick.  Middle Son was invited.

My good friend Natty invited us around for the evening and mini son was allowed to stay the night with her.  With a bottle of wine and trepidation we were ushered smartly out of the back door as people began arriving at the front.  I did mention to the surrounding neighbours that there was a party and if there was any problem to call us.

The wonderful thing about Natty is not only is she a very good friend she is also one of my very close neighbours and hence Mini Son and Mini Nat watched the party from an upstairs window with running commentary on who was in, who was out and what they were drinking.  Unless we actually stood outside her front door we could not hear the noise or chatter.

We drank, debated and discussed the merits of home parties before finally dozing. We decided to return to our own beds.  Sneaking, like gatecrashers through our front door we climbed the stairs to bed about 12.30 in the morning.    At 2am I sent a text to Middle Son who was the only person aware of our return.

“please turn music down or I will have to turn it off”

The noise became a low rumble and I fell asleep only to be woken early the next morning to find youngsters busy tidying my house for me.   The only tell-tale signs of a party

empties

empties

were a table full of empties and the fact that the house was so tidy.

Tucking into my evening meal last night I coughed and choked on a chipolata when No 1 Son asked

“Can I have a new year’s eve party?”

Tiggy

Check out my cooking blog at Teatime Treats with Tiggy

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Broken Sentiment

We had been invited to, probably the last BBQ this summer.   It was Saturday afternoon and the sun had been shinning all day.   Unusually I had no food to prepare and things were quiet in the house.   We were bringing the drinks including Pimms so I did need to chop and soak the fruit in the alcohol before we left.

I started early as the longer the fruit marinated the better the Pimms tastes. I own a beautiful glass punch bowl which comes with delicate little cups.  The sheer glass has vine leaves bulging with fruit etched delicately round it and the glass spoon sits comfortably poking through the opening in the lid.

This punch bowl has been part of my family for as long as I can remember.  My father a born host produced this bowl from the recesses of his cupboards for every memorable party he gave.    Perfectly chopped fruit, pimms, ice and bubbling lemonade taking centre stage on the drinks table at the summer party.    Warm, spicy cinnamon and red mulled wine pervading the room, hinting at the fruit mix and warmth waiting to  be enjoyed after the bonfire and fireworks display he had already pre-planned.

In fact I don’t remember an occasion he didn’t bring the bowl out and make good use of it, and yet the delicacy of the glass survived them all.   When my father passed away and my mother downsized she gave the bowl to me to follow his guardianship, with the understanding that I too, would put it to good use.   I hoped that I had emulated that custody.

I began chopping strawberries, oranges, lemons and apples.  I dug deep into the cupboard to bring out the bowl and even deeper to count that I still had all the cups to serve the drink in.   Carefully I brought it to the sink to wash it and took the lid off.  The water running, the lid shining I lifted the spoon out.

Crack!

Time stood still.

It was only a gentle tap as the spoon came out but in slow motion the side of the bowl shattered as each shard of splintered glass speared my disbelieving memory.   One side of the bowl remained intact but the one nearest me was in pieces as was I.   Sexy Sporty Dad responding instantly to my cry of pain, tried to find where it hurt.

Inside, where my heart is; where all the memories of my childhood had just converged on my core tearing it to pieces.   I had been given this to use, protect and pass on.  In a moment’s distraction I had destroyed something precious, at least to me; the memory of my father as he entertained his guests and never let anyone be without a drink or a companion at any of his parties.

Sexy Sporty Dad gathered the pieces and with sombre tone admitted that not even he could glue all the slivers back together for me.   He carefully wrapped the offending pieces in newspaper and will dispose of them as if they were a beloved pet that had passed on.  Quietly and secretly so my misery is not re-ignited.

My mind wrenched back to this evening’s activities.  What of the Pimms?  I still needed a receptacle to serve it from.  I knew the friends we were dinning with would have accepted a bottle of wine or other form of drink without damming me; but I had promised Pimms and so Pimms it must be.

Where do you find a punch bowl late on a Saturday afternoon these days?

A plethora of charity shops adorn our high street and there is one that sells all kinds of odd bits of household clearance items that rarely anyone wants.   I started there and trawled the aisles finding beautiful cut glass vases, jugs that would hold enough for two or three drinks even large brandy glasses that might be used instead.   I found a sugar bowl and milk jug that matched Granddad’s cups, I spotted a silver or possible stainless silver jam spoon that it had taken me weeks to find when I was looking for a present for my mother’s new house.   The one thing I could not find was anything resembling a punch bowl.

As I browsed a couple of outfits and smart tops on the way through to the exit I noticed the two ladies at the counter waiting I guess, for someone to say hello, buy something or just a bit of excitement.   I popped back in and asked “I don’t suppose you have anything like a punch bowl?”

The first lady looked at me sadly “no unless it is out on the shelves we don’t”

The other lady seemed a little more thoughtful.   “Could you wait a moment we did have one handed in a while back I am not sure what happened to it.”

Naturally I waited; picking up a top and admiring it; wishing I was 4 sizes smaller and could squeeze into it.  Why are all the best clothes always too small.  After 10 minutes of browsing I was becoming a little edgy, late on a Saturday afternoon and I didn’t know where I might find what I was looking for.

Finally she appeared staggering under the weight of a large punch bowl box.  Unsure even if the box held what it promised we gently removed the bowl with spoon.  It seemed to be resting on a layer  which we lifted exposing all twelve cups in perfect condition.  This was not delicate thin glass with beautiful etching on it, but thick chunky glass made to withstand even my clumsy washing.  I would take it.  After all the cost would not matter; how much does it cost to replace the priceless memories associated with my broken, shattered bowl.

“That will be £5 please”

“How much?  Are you sure?”  I added another top I had been toying with as I felt so guilty at the cheapness.

Ten minutes later all clean and shiny; the bowl adorned the shelf in the fridge with a small layer of pimms soaked fruit.  The lemonade would be added at the party.

As we drank late that evening in the glowing embers of the sunlight we raised a glassed to my father “Cheers Dad.”

Cheers!

Writing

I seem to have reached a goal; one I was not expecting.  Although my book “Memories” is supposedly going through a revamp and re-edit before being sent to publishers; I have found myself writing a short blog in the newly launched Gillingham Guide. I may only have a remit of 250 words a month to tell my tale, I have gone over on both occasions so far, this is to be a regular, time critical writing that I will have to produce as a filler providing space is available.

With all that is going on currently I am deciding whether I can find time to join NANOWRIMO this November.  How can I write 1600 words a day when currently finding time for 100 per day is  a challenge.  I have several themes going round in my head for the next book but maybe I should get Memories published then write the next one.

On another note my writing coach from our writing group has slated this blog for it’s over use of literary features and clichés. Having recovered slightly from the slating I thought long and hard about his comments.  I could of course drop all the fun features as he suggests and just text speak my thoughts in plain boring words but I think I would lose the essence of what I am saying and I am not sure I would stay focused for long.   I suspect my coach needs to understand blogging, twitter and social media before he can write-off my penned word completely.  After all I am publishing two blogs regularly and now another monthly blog, people are beginning to know my name.  Does he really want me to stop that just as things pick up for me?

I guess I need to get used to these beratings and rejections before I send Memories off.

Tiggy

Check out my cooking blog at Teatime Treats with Tiggy

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