The Visit: my brother, his wife, nephew Alfie and niece Lottie (collectively the T's), came down from Stafford for their first visit to our little cottage. M and C have just asked me to be Lottie's Godmother and they were staying for the birthday BBQ so it was a special visit. It was good to see them and lovely to spend time with Alfie and Lottie. Pirates vs Dinosaurs went particularly well, until Captain Hook lost his head and Mr Sneed, both his arms.
The BBQ: Saturday was a chaotic mix of shopping, cooking and generally tidying up in preparation for our Summer BBQ. I swept the lawn and the bunting came out... Finn was very helpful.
Whilst the family T relaxed and enjoyed the sun.
We all hoped that Lottie might have a nap on the lawn, until Megs beat her to it. Funnily enough, Lottie doesn't settle when she's having her face or feet licked! Not that I think Lottie would have settled for long though, she was far too interested in everything that was going on.
The birthday BBQ was a roaring success. We are so lucky with our friends. Everyone contributed and helped, and although they thanked us for the good night had by all, we couldn't have done it without some seriously wonderful people pitching in. The lovely Mrs B cooked up a storm; K & M brought their famous Bombay Potatoes and Coleslaw; D from the pub lent us a BBQ, furniture and some serious cooking expertise; and the other guys contributed more food (see the gorgeous Pavova below) and drinks than we could have ever hoped to consume in one night - though we gave it a good go!
After days of unsettled weather, the sun shone, the wind was nothing more than a gentle breeze and for several glorious, chaotic hours, our little house burst at the seams with children playing, people chatting and laughing, good food and loud music. It was a genuine pleasure to have been part of bringing it all together. Finn proved himself to be quite the party pup and Megs, in true dobe style, watched it all swirl around her... and occasionally got lucky and was given a leftover sausage. We finished the evening, as we do all our parties, in the pub, playing "killer" pool and enjoying a surprise visit from the marvellous Mr S (who just happened to be passing by) before finally calling it quits at about 1.30 this morning.
The Garage: the best cure for any post-party fog is a good spring clean; or at least that's what we have been trying to convince ourselves of! Anyone who knows the minutiae of our life, knows that our garage has been a nuisance from the day we moved in. It could be a great space, it's large and light and has a stunning view out into the churchyard, if only it didn't leak from every surface! We have lost so much stuff to water damage, from leaks in places that you couldn't imagine, that it has become our bête noire. Today was the day that we were finally going to sort the last of the things that needed to be disposed of and long, sweaty, tiring story short, this is the final result. It won't mean much to you I know, but this neat, clean and tidy garage feels like something of a victory! We just have to hope the weather holds a little longer and we can work on some of those damn leaks.
The Room: it is a fact that the lovely Mrs B is the 11yr old's second mum. They even look the spit of each other. It is a relationship that I value greatly, as Mrs B is some of the things that I have always wanted to be; outgoing, amazingly generous, vivacious... the list goes on and the 11 yr old will learn a lot from her. And so, in Florida, they came up with a plan. The 11 yr old's recently rejigged and redecorated room needed a little makeover to give the 11 yr old some much needed closet and makeup space. They came up with the plan, I sighed, they knew I couldn't ignore it and, one floor plan later (just to check that this pie in the sky idea would actually fit in the space provided), it was deemed a rather good idea after all - I know when I'm beat! ;o) Now Mrs B is not responsible for the new (not quite) double bed which arrived today; the 11 yr old and I can take the credit for that. In truth, a bed that size seemed a little daft at first, but you only get one childhood room and I have such fond memories of mine that I want her to have that same opportunity. So, as long as it was not too big (and not too small) I was happy to agree. When I found this one, an old size double bed, repainted white (saves me a job!), I knew that it would be just perfect for her room. So, following a morning of hard labour, I spent the afternoon putting up her new bed and starting on the redecorating. She still needs a mattress and bedding, and a lot more painting on my part, but the snuggle says it all.
The Pups: and just as I sat down to relax, the pups decided to play. If you've never seen a dobe and a chihuahua play before, it's a sight and a lesson in gentleness and bravery. On me, on the sofa, on the floor, under the sofa, up and down the stairs, in the garden, the kitchen and the dining room... they didn't stop for over an hour.