I don’t often do parties. They remind me of the scientific reports we had to write at school. You know the sort of thing; aim, materials, observations, results, conclusion. I know that a party is meant to be fun, especially when it’s to celebrate my big-zero birthday, but they don’t just happen. They require careful planning and hard work and I’m not sure that I was up to the job but here is my report anyway:
Aim: To ensure that all guests have a lovely time
Materials: (The planning, preparation, panic bit.)
- Invitations sent (Will anyone turn up?)
- Shopping lists made, food bought and prepared (with a lot of help from my best friend)
- House cleaned and cleared, garden preened and pruned (Mr A regrets the lupins have gone over – This isn’t Chelsea! I remind him)
- Waitress hired (Well I’m not getting any younger... apparently!)
Observations: (This is the actual party where I, as hostess, must keep a constant lookout.)
- Are all guests happy?
- Is anyone sitting on their own?
- Has everyone got food and drink?
- Is baby too hot?
- Is Josh-the-dog hassling anybody and will he escape through an open door?
Results: (This is the bit straight after everyone has left.)
- Most of the food has been eaten (but not all of it – this is crucial)
- There are paper serviettes wrapped round Mr A’s prize fascias, a pair of discarded sunglasses on the grass and Josh-the-dog (who didn’t escape through an open door) is clearing away assorted food items. (With his delicate digestion too! We’ll suffer later!)
- The kitchen sink has disappeared beneath assorted serving dishes, bowls, glasses, mugs, plates and a large vase that someone mistook for a water jug. (The waitress was paid off hours ago.)
- Most of the photos seem to be of feet, grass and sky. (Who gave the camera to the kids?)
- I need my bed but know I must clear away first and besides, there’s the rest of my scientific report to complete.
Conclusion: (This continues in my head for most of the night.)
Never again! It was too much work, too much worry, nobody enjoyed it, I didn’t get to speak to enough people, I allowed my best friend to over-work, there wasn’t enough of the right sort of food and I forgot to put the music on even though we’d gone out and bought a new CD player especially for the occasion...
...but then the phone rings. It’s Mum. She’s been sitting thinking about the day and had to tell me that she’s had a wonderful time. She’ll never forget it and thank you, she says, for bringing all those family and friends together, for having such a lovely gathering with excellent food and amazing weather. And at last I see the party through someone else’s eyes and decide that it was a good one after all so maybe there will be another party, another time... maybe!