The weather made the day, and of course the people who came. It was an unbelievable 33 deg C on Saturday, with loads of sun and no cloud – perfect day. The prep was hectic over a two day period with shopping galore (and money spent) which is undoubtedly the worse part of the whole process. Shopping is a bit of a nightmare really, I don’t know who runs the big stores like T*sc* or S**nsbu*ry’s , but I bet they don’t go shopping in their own stores. Why for example is the soft fruit and veg nearly always at the entrance to the shop? You get all the bananas, plums and and tomatoes and then either have to make a space in the bottom of the basket for the heavy, hard stuff or just plonk it on top of the fragile stuff. If you go off first and do the heavy stuff, it’s then a fight against the invisible one-way system around the aisles to get back to fruit and veg. ‘They’ (the store publicity gonks) say that people want to see the bright colours and display of the veg near the front because it puts customers in a ‘happy mood’ for the rest of the shop. Who do they think we are, do-lally dribblers who like to see flashing, blinking lights and pretty things? No, we want to get the hell in, do the shop and get the hell out, well I do anyway, and I’m not influenced by any of their ‘shopping experience’ tricks, like advertising. I mean, really, who is influenced by adverts on TV, the main source of them? If I’m watching a programme with adverts on one of the commercial channels, and the adverts come on I immediately switch to a BBC channel, because if you notice, if you watch anything on a Sky channel, the advert slots are co-ordinated so that it doesn’t matter how many channels you flick through, the adverts are on. Again, is this a stupid face, do the controllers of these things realise that we see through this subterfuge? Well, anyway back to the shopping, it’s a necessary evil to be able to eat (unless you get it delivered, no thanks) and the big supermarkets know this, they virtually have a monopoly on food shopping except of course if you don’t live near one of them, then the probably overpriced local shop is there instead. I say overpriced because the ones I use as infrequently as possible, always charge a good premium more than your local supermarket. Just like motorway service stations. Can someone please tell me why a packet of Trebor Extra Strong mints costs say 42 pence in any local shop, but up to 75 pence at a motorway stop? The whole motorway network is connected so surely it doesn’t cost that much extra to transport said single confection to the motorway shop?
Back to the party we had about 40 turn up, and they caught the lay-out of the back garden:
Yes, it’s running lanes, and there will be races, but nothing too Usain Bolt-like, only silly ones like egg-and-spoon and backwards running. We also had a weightlifting competition based on style not how much could be lifted:
I think you may have spotted that those ‘weights’ don’t weigh 50kg. Anyway there were some great styles for the weightlifting and everyone got into the spirit of the game:
The winners were presented with the obligatory bronze, silver and gold, with the gold medal being made of chocolate. I’ve got some left over if anyone wants to do a similar theme. The medalists were led onto the presentation area by a real-life Olympic medal presentation team member, Teresa, and were given the medals to the tune of ‘Chariots of Fire’ downloaded from the TV:
This part of the whole proceeding was met with enthusiasm by everyone there, and I must say it was a genius suggestion to have it (complete with podium) , but modesty forbids me from saying who it was. Anyway several races and events later it was the time for the barbeque, with Weber (kettle BBQ) roasted leg of lamb, chicken drums and legs, sausages and assorted accompaniments. A chorus of Happy Birthday, the blowing out of cake candles, the usual embarrassment for the birthday girl, then plentiful grub later, and went it started to get dark, two dancers (Kevin and Teresa) came on to show us what they did in the Olympic Opening Ceremony:
Excuse the standard of these dark photos, new camera! Then the guests started to leave, and make their home, which left the hardy few who don’t like to leave a party early. Three of us then got the guitars out and strummed a few tunes, which I think was an excellent way to wind down the evening, and get everyone in a mellow mood.
This is of course the abridged version, I’m protecting the innocent who may not want all their exploits published for public posterity. Needless to say, there were some terrific costumes, from the sublime (thanks Nick for the fencer but no prizes this time!) to just a ‘Team GB’ tea shirt which was fine, everyone made the effort, but of course mine was easy, I just wore my Games Maker uniform (for the last time ever):
No brainer, as they say. The next day was a complete wind down with the family who stayed with us and it ended up as almost one day-long eating session, it really was too hot to do anything else:
So, a fantastic weekend, everything went well, no complaints and a celebration in every way. It’s a pity these things have to end, but you can’t live life as if it’s one long party, but of course some people do, no names, no pack drill. Actually life can and does get more enjoyable as you get older, and slower. The years between 23 – 30 went very slowly for me, some of the time we were abroad and having a great time, and then the family comes along and things change. I actually enjoy my life at the moment, I’m lucky being retired, my outgoings aren’t huge and enough to live on. It would be nice to win the lottery and have a million or so to spread around but I really don’t desperately need anything at the moment. Interspersed with excitements like the party and going away on holiday life in between is never dull, not if you work at it.
Returning to the Olympic theme which is hopefully still in the mind, there has been a lot of talk on TV recently about the image of football and the overpaid, over preened ‘stars’ who are paid extraordinary amounts of money to kick a ball into an opponents’ net, compared to the wholesome image of the Olympic medal winners who are presented as true sportsman and dedicated to presenting a clean-cut image. I hate football with a passion, mainly because of its deceit and low class image, but I have to agree with the football pundits who say that the two images are not compatible. The Olympics happen every four years, and the football season happens every year for a nine month long season. There is no comparison of the wages each group earn, so although the footballers are paid disproportionately high, the athletes are often starved of funds to be able to support their Olympic dream. The two sports areas are completely different and the image of footballers should not be, and indeed they are not even fit to be compared to Olympic athletes.
Rant over, see you soon.
Only just found your ‘Blog’, Clive! You have set yourself a very standard; congratulations; i will look forward to reading more in the days. months and years to come….
AND Thanks for your masterly stage managed Birthday party for Fran, on Saturday; You really caught the spirit of the moment!
From the ‘Injured Olympic Shot putter’, who although was ‘excused all physical exercise’, was cajoled into entering the ‘Backward running race’…… BRILLIANT!!!
Thanks John, as an aspiring writer, it’s considered good practice to do a blog, it apparently gets you in the habit of writing quickly and getting your thoughts down. I hope I can live up to the standard already set and commented on.
The party was a hoot, glad everyone took hold of the spirit and embraced it, even malingerers! Thought it all went very well, Fran worked her socks off getting the food ready, so hats to off to her.