5 Jul 2010

Post 219: Do you know the way to the Garden Party? that's right we're cockneys

A little late but I don't half go on and don't have the energy to do allnighters anymore and sure this blog is important but... For as long as I live I will always get stressed about entertaining because my biggest fear (seriously) is organising a party that noone shows up to. You see it happen in films but the deep psychological scarring it must cause is always overlooked. What has moved me since my stroke is how much people care, and I have been terrified of people deciding that they just don't care anymore, because I've changed so much that 'we won't bother with Dom anymore, we've got our own problems, it won't matter if we shift him to the bottom of our priorities' This is something that I've really felt as most of my friends have paired off, got married and had children but I'm sure their thought process is not quite that mercenary, rather, it just happens. If I'd had the chance I would doubtless have done this myself, instead I am alone and often feel like a lame horse needing to be put out of it's misery. So these events remind me that there are people worth living for – I hope I represented this in the blurb I sent on the invite:
Seeing as it's summer (allegedly) and I've got quite a good house for a BBQ. I'm going to have one. As you all know the 4th July' has no global significance other than it being my sister's birthday. Truth is, this is the 4th date we've mooted because someone is always away - that said I'm expecting a flurry of 'sorry we cant's' because people wouldn't dream of cancelling their Sunday plans for a mere BBQ at Dom's (hint hint). Plan is to start at 2ish. If we get good weather the garden (which is looking amazing courtesy of my mum) will be where it's at. The BBQ is grotesquely large so there's plenty of room. We plan to provide salads and sides but hope/expect patrons to bring their own bbq fodder - there's a Londis 30 seconds away if we need more drink, but please bring along a bottle or beers, you know the drill. This type of event worked well last time, let's hope that the most significant global event on 4th July 2010 is this. Thanks for reading my ramblings .Please RSVP via facebook or by emailing me to give us some idea of numbers and of course partners/kids are welcome. Please email me if you need more specific directions than 'my house'. I'm just reluctant to put up my whole address.
If there are people like me on this website, I shudder to think how bad other people are. Please come if you can. Things like this are a big boost to my mental health
I have sworn never to use the facebook 'invite and reply' service on numerous occasions but I always use it again. Since it has been hijacked by spammers and the like, people (understandably seem to ignore 'event invites'. You know who you are, and I can't be the only one who is on umpteen mailing lists for things I just can't or don't want to hear about now I can't do them. The turnout was perfect, a really beautiful day and about 30 people plus about ten young children turned up and my bro had cleaned up my old slide which was a massive hit in the 1-3 age range (and older apparently) I always say how thrilled I am at the breadth of turnout from roughly 3 different groups, my university friends, my clubbing friends and my former work friends. One of the quirks of the facebook inviting system is it seems to forget to invite people who you are sure you've invited, the other side of that coin is the surprise of people you don't remember inviting showing up. The lowest commom denominator in all this is my brain, maybe I doth protest too much. Luckily, one of my dearest friends Alice had offered to help me out with the invites so had almost magically solved all of the problems I'd been busy creating for myself! I also think a special thankyou must go to my housekeeper Susan, my brother Chris and Susans ex husband Adam for readying the house and Garden for such a chaotic influx of people,things and children, special mention to the many bbqers, Gaelle(who had also brought a salad)(pictured here with her angel of a daughter Lucie and Jo and Gary who were also in attendance) and Dom (Alice's husband and one of my oldest friends, if I know him he was flipping burgers so he could be near the food!).
Final mentions go to Simon (who had actually bought the spiderpigmobile – see later) and Anna and Paul (post 170) who I was astonished to see turn up at 5:30 following some issues with a 'bedroom fitter' for their big move from north to south London (3 and a half hours late!). They are hilarious!
It was the sort of afternoon that is the anwer to the question 'What makes life worthwhile?'I only wish I wouldn't get so tired but some people and things are worth making the effort for.
[written on saturday] Around this time last year I wrote a post about the importance I attach to doing things that I sometimes find so hard these days that the enjoyment I used to derive from them has all but evaporated and even though I find them exhausting and humiliating ( because I look like a charity case that is being taken for an outing). I am of course talking about Henley Royal rowing regatta and the Wimbledon tennis. Now in the state I am they're two of the days I dislike the most. Both of these events should be treats. I went to Henley this year to keep Dad happy, it's his thing – when he was at Fenland Polytechnic 50 years ago he was quite the rower and is able to acquire stewards enclosure passes. The Stewards is a hilarious place, at the entrance the security people check punters for such lethal activities as not wearing a jacket. Despite the 30+degree heat clearly no-one had died of heat exhaustion and as we all know nothing keeps you from overheating more than a woollen blazer. They also had to check that ladies and gentlemen had their knees covered because in the past many has the time been that seeing a pair of legs (particularly female ones) ruined my day, although seeing an old codgers knobbly knees can bring on the vomit reflex. Further to this marvellous dress code did I mention you have to have a tie? The only thing that would make this more insane is if you have to wear a top hat (oh that's Royal Ascot) and have a duck tucked under your arm (probably the etiquette for some Somerset farmers orgy). It is a pleasant occasion, not dissimilar to the wedding of a distant family member that you have to go to because you have to but it is ephemeral, doesn't cause anyone any real harm (except perhaps the rowers). It has a lot in common (for me) as going to Wimbledon. When I was a kid a day out at Wimbledon with my mum was a massive treat! We loved it so much, mum and I used to get up at 5am so we could queue for 5 hours to get court 2 tickets and watch Ivan Lendl getting beaten. Those were the days when I could care about Tennis and Boris Becker was my hero and I didn't give a damn that he was ginger or German. I used to love Henley when I felt and looked my best, the dresscode was not a problem. Dressing to impress was fun, girls would look at us (us being a group of Oxford people out to get a little tipsy in nice conditions. We weren't causing any trouble (except to perhaps our livers). Once I even drove down (from Oxford) with the express intention of coming back and getting my car the next day (Unbelievably this turned out to be a great plan) and it only took me an hour with a slight hangover the next day to work out the car hadn't been stolen. Whilst we're on the subject of cars I was mightily amused by the car one of my best friends has just bought as his first car (I thought he was joking), he always is, in fact I should be able to confirm by Sunday whether I've been the victim of an elaborate hoax!
So from one pile of sh*t to the next. In the old days my mum used to enter our names in the ballot for show court tickets at Wimbledon. Now every other middle class Charlie in England must enter their name because the chances seemed slender for ever getting tickets. If we ever did, it meant seeing the best players in the best tennis venue in the world and unlike most sports the women's game is so much better to watch (not from the usual shallow 'beach volleyball' perspective) but because at Wimbledon (on grass) there are more likely to be rallies and the whole match won't be dominated by serve, e.g. Goran Ivanisevic was a terrible player, so terrible that he almost allowed timmy wimmy Henman to beat him when Tim was taking time out from being the 'work experience foreign secretary'. Goran's only Asset was his howitzer of a serve, I remember one year we had got centre court tickets in the ballot and the order of play said Ivanisevic versus Tod Martin, another knuckle-dragging neanderthal who's main asset was his serve. It was the most boring Tennis Match I'd ever seen. The only time that any of the crowd saw the ball was when the players threw up the ball to serve! They might as well have tossed a coin. Don't confuse this detail for expertise or even interest. I am about as well qualified to talk about tennis as some of my champagne socialist friends are to shoptalk about the wretched world cup which I'm overjoyed we're out of. Anyway, I am now my mothers meal-ticket to Wimbledon show court tickets because there are obviously not too many wheelchair users to seats (certainly since they built the new court 1. At least the two main matches on court 1 were ladies matches, the first match on was Venus Williams (or Williams family meal ticket A who sounds like someone shoots her in the kneecap everytime she hits the ball, versus A N Ova (some female automaton from the former Eastern bloc with more Testosterone than me probably) with a metronomic double handed backand, even though it was a close call, the Eastern European actually beat Venus Williams
metaphorically (well I don't know) proving that she had bigger balls. I guess the point I'm making is that I now can't stand two events I used to love and I can barely actually go to them, much less want to do them and certainly the benefit of going to Henley is too subtle to be tangible but I stick by it being an institution worthy of much pisstaking. I suspect that it will take a lot of persuading to get me there again. I honestly think they'll have more fun without me. My search to find the Ideal girl continues. 95% of the time I feel like a worthwhile person. It's going to be hard. All I feel I have to offer is a roof over their head. It's not much but it's a start.


Anonymous said...


Dom P said...

If you can understand the English on the blog please write in English if you can unless you no understand engrish velly good - sorry, couldn't resist!

Anonymous said...

Subtlety is better than force. ............................................................

Dom P said...

That is true but my version of force is too subtle!



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