This weekend has been lovely.
The weather has been fantastic, and as a result my mood has improved significantly. We had a houseful here. We had a belated birthday party for my lovely Mum, who was very poorly indeed when it was the actual Big Day; we decided to have a celebration now, when she was actually able to enjoy it.
It was fantastic. Both sisters were here with their respective families - we had eight children (yes, Eldest Nephew, I know you are 18, but in my head you're still a child) and six adults. Good job it was sunny, or it would have been an incredible squash in the house.
Mr WithaY had a prior work commitment* but was able to come home this morning in time to say hello to everyone before they headed home.
We had a barbecue, with Bro-in-Law manning the cooking station, assisted by various children. We had lots of lovely celebratory fizz, and a truly beautiful birthday cake that Middle Sis managed to smuggle down from London in one piece. We had lights in the trees and lanterns all over the garden so when it got dark it looked lovely. We had a tent in the back garden for several of the children to sleep in (thank goodness for the fine weather!) so there was much excitement about who was sleeping where and who was getting what bedding.
Youngest Sis managed to acquire a huge fat lip, which made her look like one of those minor celebrities who have disastrous collagen injections. We're not entirely sure what caused it, but an allergic reaction to the jalapeno burgers seems to be the likeliest candidate. And she brought those, so I don't need to feel guilty.
Charlie the dog was the star of the show, running madly between all the children, hovering hopefully whenever anyone was eating** and barking at next door's dogs when it was all getting too quiet for his liking. He also did a good deal of that cute Jack Russell "jumping really high and then dancing on his back legs" thing.
I spent the night in my little study here, initially on Mr WithaY's foldaway camp bed. He had taken a hammock and a tarpaulin to make a sleeping shelter in the woods. The bed was considered an unimaginable luxury I think.
Anyhoo, I set it all up, and then carefully climbed in. I am, I have decided, far too wide to sleep in a foldaway camp bed. There seemed to be knobs and spines and bars and bolts sticking into every part of me as I lay there, and the bed made alarming groaning noises when I shifted position.
It brought to mind one of those disaster movies where you know a suspension bridge is going to collapse, and you keep seeing a shot of high tension cables parting under stress, strand by strand.
I lost my nerve after 20 minutes, folded the bed back up and made a little nest of blankets and sofa throws on the floor and slept there instead.
This morning we sat in the garden and drank coffee, whilst everyone found their respective sleeping bags/socks/hairbrushes/dog toys/PlayStations/iPods/car keys etcetera, before eating the World's Largest Chilli con Carne. And barbecue leftovers. Nom nom nom.
Mr WithaY and I stood on the drive waved off the family, a tender moment only slightly marred by Mr WithaY jumping up and down waving his arms in the air like Flounder in the closing credits of Animal House.
And now I am going to have a shower, put my pyjamas on and chill out till bedtime. When I will sleep in a bed. Hurrah.
Oh - I understand that there is some discussion around the appropriateness of the use of marker pen and cocktail sticks in Mr WithaY's Village Fete entry. I would just like to state for the record that no marker pen whatsoever was used in the creation of March Of The Penguins.
That is all.
*Doing survivalist woodcraft type stuff out of doors. In the woods. I hope he gets lots of time off in lieu as it took up his entire weekend.
**ie almost all the time