By Steph Richardson - 4th August 2018 6:05am
The Perfect Summer Garden Party
Let's face it, parties can get a little chaotic, but they can be a lot easier to manage if they're out in the garden as opposed to wild rampaging around one's house.
This year Joyce C. had graciously offered us her garden to hold our annual garden party. Generosity is giving good things to others freely and abundantly, this sums up Joyce's good nature and I guess it's the penalty you pay for having a lovely large garden. We are expecting her garden to fully recover from our antics within the next few years, and on the plus side, her lawn has been aerated by our tottering heels!
I had been going to offer my own small garden as a suitable venue, however I have a rock garden and last week, due to this intense heat, three of them died.
Our committee had shed blood sweat and tears over discussions on what we could do this year to surpass all our previous efforts. The more adventurous amongst us suggested cranking up the sound systems and getting lessons on how to beatbox and breakdance — this would be inside the house — whilst Joyce's lawn could be given over to mass participation games with our ladies running through the sprinkler in gay abandon followed by a wet tee-shirt competition.
As an added bonus, this would also provide the perfect photo opportunity for Judy of William's to print and sell her next set of unusual birthday cards and Audlem Calendars.
Or maybe we could hold a girly gathering? Perhaps we should consider a 'glamping' party for a fun twist with plenty of cushions, girly sleeping bags and some beauty treats for everyone to get involved with? We could also have an inflatable Jungle Gym enabling ladies to squeeze themselves through a variety of tight spaces — this would be after their cellulose removing mud wraps — followed by zip wiring, which I have to say Joyce's trees would be ideal for.
Now we all know that ageing is not for wimps and that some of us are wrinkled, saggy and lumpy — and that's just our left legs — but one well known fact is that we can't plan our lives, all we can do is be available for anything it throws at us. After all, we shouldn't take it too seriously because as far as I know, no-one makes it out alive, so we ladies have to make hay whilst the sun still shines!
Our WI committee considered these suggestions for all of ten seconds before deciding that although the majority of our members would embrace these ideas — thumbs up to those ladies — there would be those who, having spent good money at Braids and refreshing their summer dresses at Audlem Dry Cleaners would be a little wary of spoiling their outfits and coiffured hair by indulging in water sports.
So bang goes my next idea of white water rafting!
Sadly, the type of challenge that most of us now have to face is opening childproof caps. Personally, I use a hammer, but I'm sure Lakeland offer easier ways.
The party begins...
The day of the garden party arrived, and the weather was scorching hot and Joyce's huge garden parasol went up immediately to protect our delicate skins. Always ready for any form of action — the mind boggles — huge golf umbrellas were retrieved from cars to add extra shade.
Our committee had arrived at Joyce's garden at the crack of dawn, well it was for me, to ensure everything was set up and perfect for the afternoon's entertainment, however we hadn't allowed for a blistering sun!
As the clock moved towards 2.00 pm, our members began to arrive, stepping elegantly down from their carriages in their best finery, heels sinking slowly into the freshly mown grass, happy in the knowledge that their winter fat had disappeared, and they were just left with spring rolls that could do with filling!
They were greeted by the sight of a table blockade — this is sometimes the only way we can get them to pay their entrance fees and buy raffle tickets — before gliding seamlessly into the garden to select the best seats, mainly those in the shade, in anticipation of a delightful afternoon's entertainment.
The Prosecco was poured into our newly purchased champagne glasses, posing the eternal question 'why don't they put enough in a bottle for two people?' and our members, old hands by now, delicately sipped their drinks whilst engaging in perspicacious conversation sorting out the challenges of Brexit, whilst berating the recent antics of President Donald J Trump, who still believes his middle initial stands for 'Genius'!
We will be forwarding our collective wisdom to Theresa May, who obviously requires our astute input. After all the answers may not always be at the bottom of a bottle of wine Theresa, but we do like to check!
We'd have been happy to continue quaffing bubbly for the rest of the afternoon, however focus was required on the little (but so important) stuff, mainly the savoury fare that followed. Highlights included free-range egg, cheese, tuna and salmon with cream cheese sandwiches and no afternoon tea could be bloomin' brilliant without scones, of course.
Happiness is a warm scone
Served warm straight from the oven — well almost — the scones were light, fluffy golden pillows with a wonderfully buttery flavour, topped with a choice of home-made jams and a generous dollop of cream. There was also a selection of fruit and sponge cakes, and the 'piece de resistance', small mousses created by Lin's own fair hands. All of these were delicately arranged on two tier cake stands, generously lent to us by Tracey from ADCA.
The rest of the world needs to know that we ladies are like ageing strudels — our crust may not be so lovely, perhaps slightly crisp at the edges due to sunburn, but the filling has come at last into its own!
Each table was presented with a refreshing pot of tea — a drink which provides us all with peace amongst the constant battles of life. Let's see if tea and buns can make the world a better place eh? Let's face it, I know I'm not everybody's cup of tea, but no one can feel sad when they are holding a jam scone in their hands can they?
Now a body like mine doesn't just happen overnight, it takes pregnancies, some neglect and extra pizza slices to achieve, however the sight of one of Anne Poole's mouthwatering sponge cakes, risen to perfection, was too much to bear. I couldn't refuse a slice and to ensure consistent quality I had a slice of the coffee one too.
Fun & Games
To further challenge our ladies, as if the abundance of food and drink wasn't enough, each committee member had provided old photos of their parents pinned to a board and each member had to guess which parent belonged to which committee member.
The winners were Kath Disley's table with the grand sum of two correct answers. Fortunately, one correct answer was my own parents, so I don't need to worry that I am adopted anymore!
Also, on each table were a variety of word quizzes to challenge even our razor-sharp brains — it was no surprise to find that our 'scrabble ladies' came out top on one of these, and they didn't even use two letter words, which I still think should be banned!
Several of our ladies decided to walk off their afternoon teas and strolled aimlessly down through the woods at the bottom of Joyce's garden. I believe we can report them lost after 24 hours, so we're not worried yet.
As the afternoon came to a conclusion and appetites were sated, the 'Grand Raffle' was drawn. I am delighted to say that our resident poet Jessie won first prize — a hamper containing a bottle of whisky and port, a bath bomb, pears in port and Kath Kidston soaps. I'll be interested to see her next poetry creation after that lot!
Birthday flowers were handed out to Anne Pearson, Pat Smith and Margaret Wells, and Joyce Clydesdale was presented with a beautiful orchid to thank her for allowing us to use her garden.
Finally our President Lin Nicholas thanked everyone for coming, whilst the rest of the committee tackled the onerous task of clearing up.....see you all next month ladies.
Remember ladies, we always have the last word in any argument because anything a man says after that is the beginning of a new argument!