Bluebottle's Birthday Blog

0 Conversations

Bluebottle's Birthday Blog

A party

Saturday was my wife's birthday party. First thing I did parkrun set-up, preparing for an extremely muddy and squelchy parkrun – not just surface mud this week, but real sinking through mud, though the springs up the hill haven't started yet. Our parkrun was also subject to VIP visitors from parkrun head office – of the 600+ parkruns in the UK, ours was one parkrun UK's Event Support Manager Jo Sinton-Hewitt chose to run at this week.

When I got home, washed the mud off my body – or possibly washing my body off the mud, whichever's lesser – and got changed, we started preparing for the party, which was being held at the Railway Institute's upper rooms. Before we left home I was dressed in smart trousers and the top t-shirt in the drawer, which happened to be the one showing the Doctors emerging from the tardis and crossing Abbey Road. When my wife looked at me and said, 'What are you wearing?' which I thought was self-evident. She then told me it was a formal occasion and I had to wear a shirt. I only have two long-sleeved shirts, I've owned both for years. There's a green one that was my step-dad's but, when he outgrew it, he said 'This'll probably fit you, here you go' and a white one that I wear to interviews/funerals/weddings/christenings etc. So I put on the green shirt and was tying my red tie when my wife said, 'That clashes, take that tie off'. So I then started tying my blue tie when my wife said, 'That clashes, do you have any other ties?' The answer is, of course, yes – my old Red House school tie and my Sixth Form school tie. They both successfully do whatever it is that ties are supposed to do – make the wearer look like they're on the way to the gallows, from what I can work out – but apparently neither of those was appropriate and so I ended up wearing the white shirt and blue tie and my wife was finally happy.

The party was taking place from 6pm onwards and earlier that day we arrived, moved the tables around and I started inflating vast numbers of balloons by mouth.

Pounding at the Door

After a while my wife realised that she'd nothing to tie the balloons together and that we didn't have enough table cloths, so asked me to walk into the town centre to buy them. So I walked off to Poundland to purchase a pound's worth of string and some table cloths. Finding tablecloths not decorated with Santas or Christmas trees was quite a challenge and took a surprisingly long time, and I only had a quick pop into the secondhand resource centres. I soon headed back and was only across the road from the Institute when my wife phoned, saying she'd run out of blu-tac™ and could I go get some, so around I turned and headed back to Poundland . Earlier as I had left the shop I had seen that there was a self-service till that no-one was using, and I didn't know why. This time, to avoid the huge queue, I decided to risk it. Big mistake – the thing kept shouting in a loud, cheerful 'Santa ' voice 'Unexpected item in the baggage area! Ho! Ho! Ho!' and 'Printing Receipt, HO! HO! HO!' So Blu-tac bought I returned to the Institute and this time made it into the room before my wife said that she'd left the scissors at home, so once again to Poundland I went to buy my second pair of scissors of the month. They didn't have any arts scissors, so kitchen scissors were purchased instead. I made sure that I, like everyone else in the shop, queued up to pay with the person behind the counter rather than risk the jollity of the self-service till.

I then returned to the Institute to discover that my wife had said that she'd accidentally left the cake knife at home – but fortunately she'd decided to phone a friend and asked her to bring hers with her. The DJ disco had arrived too and begun setting up the noise-making equipment.

Soon the catering lady arrived and put all the trays of food at the bottom of the stairs, which my son and I carried up with the last few also carried by my brother-in-law, with Sarah's parents, brother and eldest niece arriving in time to help us finish setting up, put out the food etc. Which involved an almost infinite number of sandwiches, but not a single one was honey, honey & apple rings, golden syrup, jam, choc spread or even peanut butter. Not even a proper cheese & Branston pickle. There were cheese & tomato and some brencheese, but tomato just isn't Branston. And a vast amount of egg. Seriously, who eats egg? Fortunately there was real food in the form of sausage rolls and crisps .

Anyway, people soon started arriving. With the exception of my son and my father-in-law, no-one was in a long-sleeved shirt and tie and I was soon overheating and uncomfortable as the 75 guests arrived. Many of the guests were children and I must also admit I probably only knew about half of 'em, not knowing my wife's work colleagues as well as various people I do know's partners and children. My wife did keep saying, 'Hello Matt, this is someone…' but I'm afraid I don't have the best memory of putting names to faces and remembering it, especially when I'm trying to concentrate on hearing what the people I'm talking to are saying. I don't know why DJs are obsessed with the idea of playing music loudly. The trouble with parties is that they are occasions on which you see lots of people who you are very fond of and you haven't seen for years and really want to catch up with, but neither of you can hear a word the other is saying because some bloke in the corner is trying to see if they can break the World Record for 'Loudest Playing of 'Come On Eileen' in an Interior Space Ever'headhurts . I know what 'Come On Eileen' sounds like – thanks to the wonders of modern technology I can hear 'Come On Eileen' whenever I want to, but what I can't do any time I want is chat to people face-to-face who live in far-flung parts of the country.

The party's highlights was that my children decided to do a puppet show, which they'd written the script for, in honour of my wife's birthday. This went down really well and there were lots of laughs in all the right places, so I felt very proud. (I was hiding behind the curtain with them, having nicked the DJ's microphone and was helping to point it at my son or daughter depending on whose line it was as well as turning the page of the script and helping prompt if necessary).

There were also inflatable instruments and a photo booth, which my children really enjoyed while I didn't get a chance to participate, taking photos instead.

The party ended at 11pm and we were there until past midnight, sweeping and tidying up. There were a vast number of egg sandwiches left (surprisingly enough, no-one ever eats egg sandwiches) not to mention sausage rolls etc, and we had to take the caterer's trays home with us. My wife had also been given a fair number of presents too, which she was looking forward to opening in the morning. But after getting home we just dumped things down and collapsed.

The Bluebottle Archive


16.12.19 Front Page

Back Issue Page

Bookmark on your Personal Space

Conversations About This Entry

There are no Conversations for this Entry



Infinite Improbability Drive

Infinite Improbability Drive

Read a random Edited Entry

Written by



h2g2 is created by h2g2's users, who are members of the public. The views expressed are theirs and unless specifically stated are not those of the Not Panicking Ltd. Unlike Edited Entries, Entries have not been checked by an Editor. If you consider any Entry to be in breach of the site's House Rules, please register a complaint. For any other comments, please visit the Feedback page.

Write an Entry

"The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is a wholly remarkable book. It has been compiled and recompiled many times and under many different editorships. It contains contributions from countless numbers of travellers and researchers."

Write an entry
Read more