The marquee has gone, the decorations have been taken down, our guests have gone and we’re pretty much back to normality. It was wonderful to have our friends around. Thanks to all of those of you who traveled so far to be here, you’ve given us some very special memories and brought our house to life. I’m busy creating piclists to document everything at the moment.
Stephen is still here and he, Vicki, Chris and Peter come to us for dinner. It’s the last night of their holiday and it’s wonderful to spend some time with them. Tomorrow, everyone will have gone and we’ll have to get back into our old routine.
Sam, Tyler and Marci leave today, Suddenly the house is empty again. It’s going to seem very quiet without them. I’m finding all of these goodbyes very hard. I wish we could get everyone back and do the whole thing again.
Another fabulous day. We are so lucky. Our visitors are seeing Currane at it’s very best. The weather has taken us all by surprise. Everyone thinks Currane is paradise and they are all promising to come back very soon. I have a feeling that when they come back and see the way the weather normally is here.. they won’t visit a third time!
Our friend Stephen usually hates the countryside. He arrived last Friday with a gang who are staying for the week. Because he’s normally such a city person, I warned him that he might not like to spend too long here. He booked 2 flights home, one for Friday and one for today just in case he needed to get back to the city.
Stephen decided not to go home today and has now booked another flight for Thursday. The question is… will the weather hold out so that he can stay?
Barbara & George, Kathleen and Nancy and Michael & Christine Martin came to visit and say their goodbyes. They go tomorrow.
My birthday today. There is problem with our septic tank. Al has to spend the first few hours of the day dealing with it (you really don’t want to know).
‘Auntie Jane’ gives Tyler and Marci their breakfast- that’s a first for me. Luckily Yan is on hand to help entertain them afterwards. David, Leslie, Cathy and Shaun come to say their goodbyes- they have been such a help. Adam and Lorraine have to go too- it’s been wonderful to spend some time with them. Lots of visitors all day. Harry and Kate have to leave today.
More sitting in the sunshine (after Al has dealt with the septic tank problem!) reading, tea drinking etc. Then it’s time to take Yan & Sonia to the airport. I’m very sad to say goodbye to them both but I can’t wait to see Sonia’s pictures.
When we come back from Knock we go straight next door to have dinner with Stephen, Vicki, Chris and Peter. Plenty of wine, lots of laughter and stories from the Evening Standard, mackerel and horseradish, chicken casserole and apple pie and ice-cream- not a bad birthday at all!
A gloriously sunny day. We had a wonderfully relaxing time sitting outside people coming and going all the time. A great opportunity to just sit and chat with everyone. Julie, Bill, Al, Mum & Dad, Barbara & George, David, Leslie, Cathy and Shaun meanwhile work very hard returning tables and chairs back to the community centre. David & Leslie, Cathy and Shaun take bottles to the bottle bank- if it wasn’t for them, we would probably still be knee deep in bottles at Christmas!
I found all of the lollipops and sherbet we bought for the party and then forgot about so we all get a bit high on sugar.
Pete, Jane and Charlotte have to leave to get their camper van back to Galway.
Julie & Bill and Dave & Ola leave for their flights. So do Lucy, Ruth, Mike, Matt, and Eddie. Yan & Sonia cook the dinner, Clive and Vicki visit and later Adam, Lorraine and Stephen and we have a great laugh about the ‘old days’.
A lovely day (except for all the goodbyes).
Everyone helps get the marquee and chairs arranged. Dave, Ola Yan, Sonia and Sam decorate the tables, Julie and Bill work on the streamers/ bunting. Yan manages to get my plan for the lanterns to work and Julie and Bill help to set them up. Adam and Lorraine put lanterns up the drive. It all looks so pretty. Unfortunately the weather doesn’t look so good. Oh well, too late to worry about that now. Dave & Ola help Al set up giant bamboo hoops for Al’s ‘extreme croquet’.
Now it’s time for a little ‘quiet time’. Our visitors go off exploring or have a lie down. I have a long bath. The caterers arrive and start setting up. There are a few spots of rain I think.
We get ready, head to the bar and start mixing up the Pimms. Derek, Helen and the kids are first to arrive, closely followed by lots of friends and family. Afternoon tea is set up in the marquee and everyone helps themselves to drinks in the bar.
I’m not sure what time it happens- maybe around 5 ish but the sun comes out.
Al’s ‘extreme croquet’ get underway. It seems mostly to involve kicking beach-balls and hitting people with the giant inflatable hammers he purchased. Either way, people seem to enjoy it.
By 6 O’clock the barbecue is getting going and we have about 150 guests. There seems to be room for everyone, some sit in the bar, some in the marquee, some on the grass and some on chairs in front of the house. We flit around between them all.
The band ‘Cheers’ start up with some Sawdoctors at around 7.pm. Al is very shy about dancing so I have my first dance with Dave. Eventually Al is tempted (or should I say bullied?) onto the dancefloor. We manage to escape the Siege of Ennis.
Soon it’s time to switch the lanterns on. It’s lovely to see the balls of light just floating there.
At about 11ish the Strawboys arrive and do their thing. We’re grateful they came. Then there is lots of dancing that seems to involve the humiliation of Al and I while everyone stands around us in a circle.
The band were brilliant and really got things going. When the band finish, some people drift off and others wait for the karaoke to get started.
Two things about karaoke: First, I didn’t realise how much power you feel when holding a microphone! I’ve never used one before and I loved it! Second, I really did think that I knew the tune to ‘Moondance’ and ‘American Pie’, turns out maybe I didn’t! Al sang Dancing Queen with his old school friends. Yan obviously knows what he’s doing and put us all to shame. Tim and Colin were great. Bed at about 4.
Our 10th wedding anniversary. With all the excitement, we almost forgot.
I’ve woken with a the beginnings of a migraine. Yan and I ( mainly Yan as I can’t do heights) get the flower decorations that I’ve been making for months up in the marquee. They look fantastic. Al works on the electrics and Al and Yan get the karaoke going. Champagne Supernova and Cigarettes and Alcohol get a good going over!
Mum & Dad and Barbara & George come to offer some help. The women help me prepare huge amounts of vegetable soup for tonight’s arrivals and the men get on with correcting the bar decorations that went wrong and putting balloons up – luckily, Sonia is on hand to knock them into shape. Barbara, my Mum and Sonia lay out the booze etc in the bar. My Mum is like a whirlwind- it’s a good job she is because my mind has gone blank. She sorts out bins and bin-bags.
Julie and Bill arrive, We spend a lot of time just chatting, catching up and drinking lots of tea. Next come David, Lesley, Cathy and Shaun. They help Al and the other men move tables and chairs from the community centre to the marquee with the help of our neighbour John Boyle. It’s all too much for me- I go and lie down for an hour.
When I get up, Adam and Lorraine are here- time for lots more tea. Pete, Jane and Charlotte arrive in their rented mobile home. Al takes Adam and Lorraine to their holiday home.
Jean & Breedge arrive with one bag full of bread they’ve baked and another full of cakes. What wonderful neighbours. The gang from the Gatwick flight all arrive together. Dave and Ola- who we settle in here and the Evening Standard bunch; Vicki, Chris, Stephen, Peter, Harry and Kate who are staying next door. They settle in and then come back for soup and quiche. They use the bar to eat and have a few drinks and for the first time in ages, there is life in the bar again.
Gradually everyone drifts off. there is a moment of panic when I realise that Trudi is missing. The poor thing is not used to having all of these people around. Julie, Sonia and Al spring into action and she is found. It seems like she followed the Evening Standard people home. Time to get some sleep.
Last night we slept in our old bedroom for the first time in a year or so. We’re missing our lovely Vi-Spring already!
It’s wonderful having children in the house. Weird but wonderful! Of course we’re not used to it at all but already the house feels different. There’s definitely more life in it!
Bernie Joyce calls and very kindly says she can fit me in for a haircut later. Great news. I really need one.
Cliff and friend from Pavilion arrive to put up the marquee.
Al sets of to pick up Yan and Sonia from the airport while I carry on with some outside painting.
The marquee looks great. It seems to be brand new and I’m sure it will be large enough. Al will need to do some sorting out to get the power working but that can wait until tomorrow. The guys leave at about 7.pm. Bernie comes to cut my hair and I’m just getting out of the shower when Al arrives back with Yan & Sonia (and take-away pizza from Castlebar).
As if the pizza wasn’t treat enough, it’s wonderful to have Yan & Son here. I’m so grateful to them for coming (Yan hates to fly). We drink some beer, eat Pizza, talk a lot and then get some sleep.
I finish moving us out of our bedroom, Tony and Linda visit and offer help, which is very kind. I carry on cleaning. At about 4.pm, Al sets of to pick up his sister Sam with her children, Tyler, 3 and a half and Marci, 2 from the airport. By this time, I’m supposed to be painting the outside of the house. It’s another glorious day and I’m listening to my i-pod while painting. There is no way we’ll be able to paint the whole house by the party but we might as well try. The house is pretty much organised and we can’t do any more preparations until the marquee arrives.
As I’m painting, my mind wanders and I realise that I don’t even have an anniversary card for Al. I’m a little bored of painting and look across at our garage which was built 5 years ago but never painted. I’ve been on a Al to paint it for years. I decide to take matters into my own hands and draw my anniversary card on the garage wall. The 6ft love heart is pretty wonky but really I’m pretty pleased with my efforts. Unfortunately Sam’s flight has been delayed (she rang Al on his mobile) and so when he arrives back unexpectedly, I’ve not quite finished. I had expected him back after dark and therefore hoped he wouldn’t spot my masterpiece until tomorrow.
Anyway, I’m such an idiot, I should have thought the plan through properly. My reasoning was that graffiti on the garage would ensure that the garage got painted. Because I’ve put a declaration of love there, it’s going to be very difficult to paint over it. Poor Al is now dammed if he paints and dammed if he doesn’t!
My Mum and Dad arrive with Auntie Barbara and Uncle George ( my godfather). It’s great to see them and so it’s time for more tea and cake and catching up. Sam eventually rings to say her flight is boarding and so Al sets of to collect her.
I get a chance to sit snd relax watching The Apprentice. It’s the episode with the kosher chicken and it was wonderfully entertaining.
Sam, Tyler and Marci finally arrive at about midnight after visiting Tesco and stocking up. It’s great to see them again.
Trudi seems slightly scared after meeting the children for the first time but luckily, the children don’t seem scared of Trudi. The children are very tired after their journey and the delay and Marci has a sore throat.
Al found an horrible insect crawling on his back after he arrived back. It gave him quite a scare. After lots of research, we discover it’s a cockchafer or ‘may bug’.
We’ve never seen one of those before around here. Yuk!