Saturday, November 26

Bangers & Mash for Sarah B 50

Penny's place was packed a week or two ago. Wherever I stood, I was in the way as what seemed like most of the inhabitants of Astcote and Cold Higham had arrived to sample a whole load of variations on the theme of bangers and mash. Many had also arrived by invitation to wish Sarah B a slightly early happy 50th birthday. (The real occasion is tomorrow.)

Richard had the wood burner going in one room where the temperature was tropical and Penny's ovens were working at full steam so the kitchen was only marginally cooler. Wearing a shirt that I'd sprayed myself with blue and yellow stripes and some 1950s Polaroid sunglasses I felt appropriately dressed for the climate but, perhaps, not the occasion. The outfit had gone down well at Adrian's Half Century do just a week before so I thought an appearance, at least, was justified and a suitable nod in the direction of Sarah's penchant for the weird and wonderful providing it has something wackily artistic about it. The spray paint clogged up all the holes in the shirt fibre, though, so it was like wearing a cellulose mac and, especially in the vicinity of Richard's wood burner, the heat (and risk of explosion) necessitated a quick change to something more comfortable.

The food was, as always, brilliant and most of us had several helpings as well as indulging in the plentiful supply of alcoholic beverages available. For once, the Committee remained sober for long enough for me to read out one of my traditional birthday poems and that seemed to go down well. Here is is for anyone who missed it or fancies another chuckle.

Saturday, November 12

Hawaii Five Oh, Dear

At possibly the most colourful events I can recall attending, a huge pile of friends and representatives of the Paddock Party Committee gathered at an Indian restaurant to wish Adrian Pinckard a jolly 50th birthday. He had entitled the event Hawaii Five O - hence the ridiculous garb someone managed to snap me in. It could have been worse, I suppose, had I had the courage to don the grass skirt!

The mixture of Hawaii and some unidentified province of India was strange to say the least and perhaps it was just as well that we were more than entertained by each other as the poor waiters looked totally confused as they attempted to deliver people's orders correctly. The music may have also contributed to their confusion, the normal Indian fare being replaced by The Beach Boys and Monkees for the night.

The Paddock Party Committee had wrapped a 30-CD collection of Carry On films which I understand Adrian is slowly working his way through and a dozen selected bottles of beer which are probably suffering the same fate (OK, delete the word slowly!)

It was a splendid evening and strange to think that yet another friend has now passed the 50 mark. Indeed, next year several reach the next milestone of 60 (no names, no pack drill) which is frightening. But that's another year. Have to survive this one first.