Douglas Spencer (dougs) wrote,
Douglas Spencer

Sally's birthday party, July 12th

It's purple_peril's birthday tomorrow, another nice round number, and I hope and trust she'll have a good one. This last weekend was her special birthday party, a barbecue at her home in Chippenham. She always hosts a very good party, and this one was firmly in the same tradition.

I arrived sometime in the early-mid afternoon, and was immediately called upon to assist in the construction of a gazebo. There were 28 metal poles, five oddly-shaped plastic joints, the material forming the canopy... and no instructions whatsoever. It wasn't too hard to work out which bits were intended to fit into which other bits, but it was swiftly evident that some of the little springs which hold the poles together had gone missing, and so the whole assembly of poles was apt to fall apart at the slightest provocation, or independently if left for long enough. In addition, the space in which it was to be deployed was only about two inches wider than the gazebo itself. Fortunately, when the canopy was thrown over the metalwork it helped to hold it together, and we were confident that the structure stood a good chance of surviving the party.

There was lots of food. There was lots of stuff to drink. There was a table full of bottles and a big sign that said "Sally's Bottle Graveyard -- open a bottle, taste it, and either drink it or throw it away". There were sausages and burgers and bits of chicken. There was a huge great slab of lamb, and an even huger salmon. There was a big bowl of roastable vegetables and another big bowl of squeaky-cheese and a pile of kebab skewers. There was a separate barbecue for vegetarians vegetarian food. And there were big bowls of potato salad, lentil salad, other salad and other other salad.

There were also lots of interesting and entertaining people to talk to, including gmul, alperrot and ingaborg, beermat, veronica_milvus (who I'd not previously met), and three folk singers Ruth, Richard and Julie. There was singing, partly of rude songs and partly of very rude songs. There were recitations of poetry (okay, that was only me). There was a demonstration of the legendary Amazing Vibrating dougs, which was experienced variously with delight (Sally) and trepidation (Ruth), or refused outright (everyone else). It was all good.

Some people went home, other people crashed over. I ended up sleeping with the three folk singers, having been charged by our hostess to ensure that they didn't spill anything bright red.

The following morning there was breakfast (the remaining sausages), and we dismantled the gazebo. There was discussion about a likely party later in the year, and then we all bid our goodbyes and went home.

Looking forward to the next one, very much.

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