We had a great day on Saturday, organising a barbeque and inviting our friends Graeme & Lisa and Colin & Penny around for it. Andy and Rachel were meant to come, too, but unfortunately got delayed until Sunday.
I’d gotten up early on what was an overcast morning to go out and collect a package, before heading off to the retail park to pick up some odds and ends. While I was there I bought myself a Swingball set and a skipping rope from Argos. I’d wanted a Swingball set for ages and decided that that day was as good a time as any to spend £8.99 on a bare-bones version – the kind without a base, where you stick it in the ground. (The skipping rope is a little less conventional – it isn’t even rope, for a start.)
Armed with my new outdoor entertainment aparatus, it was on with the day at hand. Next stop was Asda to get barbeque supplies. Fliss had made me a list of stuff to pick up, so I quickly navigated the aisles in clinical fashion, add-libbing when I saw stuff that might go down well – like Lager. (From my extensive experience I know that always goes down well.)
By the time I’d finished in Asda the sky had cleared completely and the sun was beating down. Fantastic, I thought, all the ingredients for a fine day were in falling into place and being placed in the boot.
I arrived home to find that Fliss had borrowed our neighbour’s lawnmower so that I could cut the grass. Ours is poorly, y’see. Reluctantly I cut the back grass, then assembled my new Swingball set to show Elisha. She didn’t get the point, really, but then she hasn’t wanted one for years. I had, and now I had one to call my own. Brilliant.
That done, I even more reluctantly went and cut the front grass, which was quite long… and peppered with white dog poo, too. As any stand up comic pedaling nostalgia will tell you, white dog poo is pretty rare these days (cue big laughs). I think it’s something to do with dogs eating less bones and getting more pre-processed food instead. Either way I instantly vapourised said white dog poo by way of a vicious mowing attack. If you’re going to do that, I’d suggest using a neighbour’s mower, like I did. Makes a bit of a mess.
Anyhoo, grass cut, I had a quick bath, dressed in suitably summery attire and went off to collect Colin & Penny. On the way I was behind a car with a dog hanging out of the window, which was enjoying the fresh rush of air in the way that dogs do.
“I thought dogs had to be secured, nowadays?” I pondered to myself.
Noticing the dog leaning further out of the car, I sensed impending dog related disaster and lifted off of the loud pedal, allowing the car to coast in fifth. Good job I did – next thing the dog was skating along on its front paws, hind legs and arse stuck through the window, before summersaulting onto the road and sliding to a stop behind the car.
“Holey fuck!” I believe I/We said at the time, hitting the brakes and pulling into the middle of the road to block any traffic that might be behind me. (In the event there was only a bus, and the driver of that did the same – top bloke.)
The dog, seemingly unfazed by his spectacular tumble, came wandering up to my open window and sniffed at my outstretched hand. At this point I suppose I could have enquired about the rarity of white dog poo at source, but in our mutual astonishment that the fallen canine was alive, we shared only a brief acknowledgement before he made off in the direction he’d originally been traveling.
Having stopped a good 20 yards after the dog had, the owner came jogging along the side of the road, sporting a silvery Bluetooth earpiece and aviator shades. Might as well have been wearing a t-shirt with the slogan “I’m a berk”, too, but that would probably have been stating the obvious.
I made my exit, driving slowly past man and dog, fighting the urge to cast the glare of disapproval at the owner. If it had been the dicing 50-60mph traffic that uses that stretch of road in the morning, the dog would have been history. Still, at least the dog appeared to have escaped relatively unscathed – hopefully they both learned a valuable lesson about dogs and cars.
Once back at the house with Colin & Penny, Graeme & Lisa had already arrived and the day proper got underway. T’was a well successful afternoon, I thought. The weather was great, the adults had fun, the kids had fun (well, Elisha did – Francis kind of slept), and, aside from bringing the kind of wrath to veggie hotdogs that they wouldn’t normally experience, Fliss made a very good job of preparing the food while the rest of us enjoyed the sunshine and refreshments.
Taking it in turns to play Swingball it became apparent from my duels that, despite my fairly regular tennis outings, it’s a different kind of raquet and ball sport entirely. Indeed, I picked up numerous minor injuries of the string/friction or ball/impact variety. At the same time, Graeme and Colin tore up the form book with some fine displays of barely controlled aggression.
However, the Swingball set would not live to see the sun set. Well, not at full height, anyway, with Fliss and Graeme snapping it at the base during one of their encounters. Still, better to have had Swingball and lost it than never to have had it at all. *sigh*
By this time I had moved onto my new skipping “rope” anyway, and I was equally as bad at that as I had been at Swingball. Much whipping of legs, arms, and head ensued as I tried to (drunkenly) learn the ropes(!) of an activity which, I had rightfully assumed, is harder than it looks. The rest of them seemed to think it was funny that I couldn’t skip, but that only tempered my resolve to get good at it. Actually, I’ll settle for average at it – so long as I look more like a boxer and less like a prat, I’ll be happy.
The evening wore on in a similar fashion, with Colin & Penny leaving at around dinner time, and Graeme & Lisa taking little Francis home at some time after eight, leaving Fliss and I to talk to the neighbours and ponder the sheer volume of meat that we had left over. We could have comfortably fed twice the number of meat eaters – apparently you always do that at barbeques, though.
When Andy and Rachel showed up on Sunday we fed them well with the left overs. Andy earned his by trying to help me fix my laptop before they left late on Sunday evening. Rachel is eating for two now, so she was more than welcome to a good feed. ;o)
I’m impressed by how well it all went, so I cant wait until finances and good weather coincide once more so we can do it again.