Thursday 6 August 2015

A Garden Party (& why you should probably avoid me when I've had a drink)

Laurie turned 30 a couple of weeks ago. His birthdays usually pass without much fuss, as he quietly mumbles that he’s not really much of a birthday person. I have always been the exact opposite, milking my birthdays for every ounce of attention I can possibly find. Well, until motherhood. Then it’s not really the same, is it? Sometimes it feels a bit like we’ve been in hibernation since the day I found out I was pregnant. Missing parties to stay home and do bedtime, constantly too tired to go out and celebrating birthdays at home with little more than a bottle of prosecco (each, but still).

So when Laurie said he’d quite like to do something for his 30th, I decided we would Do Something. Laurie decided on a party at home, though to be honest the thought of a house full of drunk people was less than appealing. And so we decided to have a garden party, and just hoped the weather would at least be dry. As it turned out, the weather was wonderful and my months spent sorting the garden were not in vain.

When we moved into our house last year, the garden was a full on bee paradise/meadow. The grass was taller than Ebony, wildflowers crept into every corner, and a whole playground’s worth of rusting equipment was hidden beneath the weeds. This year I decided to make it my mission to get it sorted. It actually turned into a much bigger project than I’d anticipated, mostly because I kept changing my mind about what I was doing.

There was a lot of concrete to dig up, plenty of slabs to move, and a ridiculous amount of mud to find a new home for. Luckily, I managed to get most of it done in spring when the weather was nice (seriously, summer, what is going in?). I spent days in the garden lugging around stones and mud, with Ebony as my assistant with her wheelbarrow and spade. She took on the official role of worm relocation officer and must have single handedly saved the lives of hundreds of worms, snails and slugs.

We made the lawn bigger, created a space for Ebony to play in and an accompanying patio area for us to sit and drink tea (wine). We made a hopscotch and swing set to keep Ebony entertained. We (my mum) planted flowers, put up fairy lights and made the garden somewhere nice to be. I really wish I had some before shots so I could see the transformation, it’s hard to remember just how bad it was before.

There were some jobs to do inside too. We painted the conservatory, updated an old dresser, bought some more storage, and generally tried to reorder the back of the house a little. We painted the woodwork, cleaned the windows, and bought plenty of flowers to decorate the garden. And, obviously, we continued to hope the weather would be good.

After a week of depressing weather forecasts and threats of thunderstorms, it amazingly didn’t rain until after we were all tucked up in bed. Or passed out on a bed, whatever. I can’t really say much about what happened at the party, mostly because I don’t remember. But I do know I drank a lot of Pimms. And that the glass of prosecco was probably where things took a turn for me. I know that I tried to get people to tell me their secrets, that I almost certainly spent most of the night harassing various party guests (er, yeah, sorry about that), and that I paraded my friend Kim around the party so I could tell people she’s never met about how exciting her job is. I also made a fire.

I can confirm that my hangover lasted a long time, and that Laurie woke up pretty fresh faced after passing out before 11pm and managing a full eight hours of kip. And, with Ebony gone for the next day until close to bedtime, I got to enjoy an old school hangover with plenty of duvets, Black Books and the odd helping of greasy food. So much better than being woken at 6am, being forced to play Ballerinas and having to make food for someone else.

And now I’m retiring back to my hermit life, because I’ve remembered just how terrible it is to not remember what I said the night before/be properly hungover/be faced with party mess the next morning.

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