I am sitting here, halfway through a well deserved glass of red wine, extremely grateful that we have been able to return thirteen unharmed 7-year-olds to their parents! The only near-miss was our own daughter who collided with a garden toy and which resulted in a heavy nose-bleed and swollen lip - resembling an Elephant seal, according to my son – he only tried to cheer her up, lol. Today we celebrated our twin girls’ 7th birthday. After preparing for the influx of party-lusting kids all day, I felt rather calm and collected when they started to appear. All warm food was ready, keeping cosy in the hostess trolley (if you think they sound naff, like I used to, have a rethink, they are excellent gadgets….I think I need to have another blog post on those another time), and all cold food ready in the fridge. I had time to chat to parents and with confidence reassure them that they did not need to be present. Although the ratio of adults to kids was well below that of any regulated organisations I felt we had full control! After all, these kids learn good manners and to “Listen and Do” at school, right? Right, but then not quite so…
Our house is a standard 3.5 bedroom end terrace house with a corner plot. However, connected to our house is a room/space very much like a Village Hall. Jokingly, but rather precise, we call it the biggest garden shed in Devon – it is a playroom, storage space for old relatives’ furniture, it houses my workshop, my husband’s workshop, his drum practise room, and is also occupied by freezer, tumble dryer etc – we don’t know how people live without a village hall in their garden, to be honest! When the children saw this space, filled with balloons, roller skates, skipping ropes, scooters and an old sleeping sofa and football board, and then the back garden (read: jungle) with a huge trampoline, slide and some old trees excellent for climbing, I do believe their brains told them in no uncertain terms they had come to some weird sort of adventure park. A place where you just scatter a different way if encountered by an authority, and where there are thousands of places to get away from any registry. My poor husband, who tried to count the children present and never made it add up, eventually required a written list of kids invited, and started to cross them off as he came upon them. It didn’t help that he didn’t know half of them, poor man. Eventually we sourced the mistake; I had managed to write down the name of one girl twice!!
Apart from the initial shock of all those small bodies moving very deftly and speedily around the place, I must say they behaved wonderfully during meal time, ate well (I am a mean mum, serving out the “healthy stuff” before offering up the party cakes and sweets), and made a great effort and racket of the party games. It was short, and very noisy! This year I’d even managed to put together party bags for them (this is a totally alien concept for a Norwegian, although I believe they have started to import this horrendous habit at home in later years – how can you go to a party and expect to go home with a bag full of gifts?) When I came back to the kitchen after saying merrily goodbye to the last party lion I realized I’d still not reached “perfect mum” status…the Birthday Cake was still there, uncut! Oh no, it was not to end up moldy in damp and forgotten party bags, or kept in fridges until worthy of the bin! It is still here, whole and wonderful and lovely and chocolately to be enjoyed by our family for days :-)
Here are a couple of things I have been doing lately: organic beads, playing with silver glass, silver foil and enamels: