Amidst the bedraggled jubilee celebrations, we had an 18th birthday to celebrate. We delayed the party until the weekend after my daughter Taylor's birthday so as not to be in direct competition with the Queen.
It being June, I thought a garden party would be lovely. As the day drew nearer, the weather showed no signs of brightening up and headlines in the local paper read "Strong winds and rain set to batter region" (or words to that effect). I had to accept that it was time for a Plan 'B'.
Without the garden seating at our disposal, I was worried that we would not have enough chairs for our 30 or so guests moved inside. It used to be that we had 60 ex-school chairs in our garage - left over from a plan I once had to hold my wedding reception at home - but my husband gave them away when he got fed up of having nowhere to keep his bicycle and boat sails.
Taylor's boyfriend volunteers at the Relate Charity shop in town that sells mainly furniture. I asked him if they had much in the way of chairs in stock and how much they charge. I was pleasantly surprised by his answer that they had loads and some for as little as a couple of pounds. Compared with my first thought of buying plastic garden chairs at £6.99 each, this seemed like a promising option.
I left my husband with the task of visiting the charity shop and he returned with the back of the Galaxy full of all sorts of interesting examples of what would have been in their day, really good chairs. They were all, shall we say.. well loved, but at £20 for the lot it was a perfect solution to my seating crisis.
We arranged the house to make best use of all the space and ever optimistic, set up our gazebo outside.
During the week, I had been on a mad baking mission. I love making cakes and although I didn't have the time to get really creative with decorating them, I did manage to try a few new recipes and ideas. I had thoroughly enjoyed the cooking part and I must admit I did feel quite pleased with the result when they were all laid out on the table ready for an afternoon tea and the start of Taylor's birthday party. My mum, prone to poetic exaggeration, said that my fairy cakes were so light that she floated to the ceiling. Thanks mum x
The weather was actually much kinder to us than we had imagined. Taylor and her friends got out into the garden for a mad game of volleyball and a clamber on our Jungle Gym!
A roaring fire in the chiminea (tended lovingly by our very own fireman) meant that we could all enjoy the outdoors when the veggie sausages were barbecued and Taylor bravely sang a song that she had written (with sister Charis providing the harmonies).
It was a lot of hard work with the preparations and the post party clear up but it was such a lovely opportunity to spend time with old friends that had travelled up especially to celebrate with us and to invite Taylor's boyfriend's family to unite with ours. The grandparents got on famously. I regret that Taylor's grandparents on my husband's side were not also seated at the "VIP" table but the trip all the way from Brighton to Shropshire is just a bit too far for them to undertake easily.
|Raucous grandparents show the teenagers how to have a good time!|
Yet another cake, designed for a maths geek, with candles and an exuberantly performed "Happy Birthday" song well and truly marked the occasion of Taylor's 18th and the party went on into the night.
|Photo borrowed from Liberty Falls Down|
I now have two rather nice charity shop boudoir chairs in my bedroom (and homes to find for several more) and a good supply of leftover cake to see me through the next few days (not to mention enough alcohol to probably last until the end of term - and it is quite possible I am going to need it!!)