You too must have had that ‘deja vu’ feeling when particular festive days, in this instance, birthdays, come round again. Will it be different this year, how can I make it a memorable day for my friends or shall I just not bother with arranging anything. Rummaging in the memory locker recollections from decades ago pop up and you look at those instances with, at times, a calmer, more accepting eye or not.
In France birthdays dom’t aeem to be celebrated to the same extent as in Anglo Saxon countries. It may be on the basis, as I understand it, according to the church we were created in sin. Hence celebrating your saint’s day is more common. This though is altogether another story.
The week started with the anticipation of having a party to celebrate a birthday. Whilst still vividly remembering my sixth birthday party, the magician and his shiny top hat hiding the rabbit, the balloons, cake, school friends, treasure trove games, squeals around the table and garden, it was going to be a little different now.
Eek, this time I’d have to sort out the food, invitations, prizes and magician? Could have got a party planner she thinks! Too late.
Transported back to a school assembly when hearing the blackbird singing of a morning, the excitement of a six year old wasn’t going to get this party ball rolling. Who to invite, who’d want to come, what would they eat, would they get on with the others and we haven’t even mentioned either the weather or are there enough chairs?
A menu was planned, cheese croquettes with wild asparagus as a starter, roast lamb plus its accoutrements followed by a cheese course and pud. There was plenty of wine in the house, the balloons were inflated, with even a couple perched on the roadside house sign, and frivoulous streamers scattered from the beams. The household animals looked inquisitively at the goings on with the odd claw lunging out at the enticing curled paper frons plus a tug from underneath the heavily laden table cloth.
The guests arrived with pressies and cakes and guess what the sun came out transforming the onerous grey limousin morning, what a joy. Everyone, in their best bib and tucker enjoyed meeting up with old and new acquaintances whilst the champagne bubbles and kitchen vapours whetted the appetites.
Admittedly, earlier in the day, there had been scenes in the kitchen à la Gordon Ramsay and now I was trying to transform myself into Nigella! The dogs had had a very close encounter with the croquettes, no not the bone shaped kind, and three of the red wines opened turned out to have been better used to clean the Ramsayesque engine room.
We were all in full flow and having decided I could be six again the entertainment started with my painted donkey picture, pin the tail on his derrière, find the treasure on the map and guess the film from the drawings. Prizes were allocated throughout the evening, the guests’s wonderful offerings were unwrapped, jokes and squeals surrounded the table and yes it was magical. The ghost of the charmed rabbit was certainly present.
Close to midnight everyone tootled off home and I looked at the table ….. the last few decades came back with bump. What a pile of plates, glasses, sticky cake and stuff. By 1am this party girl was too tired to finish clearing up the last dregs. However, what a pleasure it was to have had such a fun evening and being able to make my guests happy. Putting away the plates, cutlery, wrapping paper and donkey settled the stories into their compartment ready for next year’s do. Call the party planner now perhaps?
Gwen Jenner – www.gwenjenner.com