Sunday 6 November 2011

Fire and a Party.... improvisation.

Bonfire night (this past Saturday - the 5th) went with a bang as usual. For the third year running our pals from far and wide packed up their families, fireworks and fantastic desserts and wheedled their way to Shropshire and The Larches. We were expecting almost sixty guests, more than twenty of them staying the night.

It was a miracle I made it to the Saturday, for starters my head cold seemed to have turned into a brain tumor, so magnificent was my headache. I can only assume this was a combination of stress and sinus strain. It also wasn't great that, on the Friday, we seemed to be experiencing the worst weather for months, with a ton of rain creating flooded roads further down in the valley towards school.

The rain was also turning our driveway into a quagmire and I worried that the farmer's low loader would sink low in the field, as he endeavoured to push the huge bonfire into a compact shape. We build the bonfire over a year and therefore it is generally monumental, but we regularly disturb it to ensure no creatures consider it home. This final shake of the bonfire is invaluable to ensure no animals remain before we light it.

Apart from the weather, all seemed well; the house was cleaned, bedrooms made ready, drinks chilling, the only thing that niggled me is that my caterers - a couple I've employed for the past two years who run a mobile burger van serving local sausages, burgers and hot crispy chips, hadn't returned my last two calls. We had agreed the date almost a month ago and had discussed the menu several times since then but now I needed to clarify numbers, always difficult to judge till the final few days when guests finally confirm or decline the invitation. I also needed to ensure timings for feeding everyone before the firework display.

At 3pm I tried the mobile number yet again, just before I had to leave for school pick up.

The caterer answered and I sighed with relief.

'Gosh,' I said. 'You're going to give me a heart attack, I've been trying and trying to contact you.'

'Oh yes, sorry about that I meant to call you back. We can't do your party now as we're booked somewhere else. I forgot to look in the diary and we were already booked to do this big thing in Ludlow. Sorry, should have told you.'



Do you know what? It was fine. I phoned the local butcher Bowkett's of Tenbury and he made me 100 of the fattest and best tasting sausages ever.

On Saturday I awoke to bright sunshine which continued all through the weekend and there was not a murmur of a breeze.

We set up our barbecue, (previously packed away for the winter,) in the log shed and even employed Grandma's 1970's hostess trolley to keep the food warm.

We offered sausages in finger rolls and burgers in soft buns and our guests did us proud by bringing some truly stunning desserts (even though I'd specifically asked them to bring deserts in the invitation...... good lord, cardinal error!)

The children marauded in the dark, loving the wild freedom of our fields while the adults drank wine or sipped at hot cups of my home-made tomato soup, many did both. The fireworks were awesome - very professionally managed by Hubby. So all in all it was a great night, especially great to see old pals of course and local people who have become good friends.

We've cleaned up now - probably need to go and empty the cans and bottles tomorrow at the recycling bank and I definitely need to wash the floors, but other than that the house looks fine.

It was a super party again and a late'ish night but I think we'll have a year off next year. Catch our breath a bit and go to someone else's display..... look out Oxfordshire were coming to visit!!


  1. Well done for handling the catering debacle so smoothly. They were hugely unprofessional. It sounds like a great bash.

  2. Wow, well done you for sorting the food, how awful of the caterers to let you down like that. It sounds like it was a lovely party!

  3. English Rider: Yes, hugely unprofessional and therefore will never be employed by me again.

    Lucy: It was a really lovely party and we feel quite chuffed that we easily catered for 60 and then again 20 for breakfast. Quite an achievement... thank goodness for disposable tableware!


The Archers at The Larches

Lou - Chicken whisperer....

Lou - Chicken whisperer....

Snowy and Moon

Snowy and Moon