Friday - Daughter was here and shopping and here again and lots of prep was done for the party tomorrow. So much food flying around but unfortunately so much of it has to be done fresh tomorrow. Also Daughter's bell tent up as a children's tent (although I think it's only girls invited in) and Daughter's camper set up for a family of 6 that can't bring their own.
Saturday - Today was the 'friends' celebration of R & E's 10th birthday and the girls' special request was to have a camping party.....my garden being a lot bigger than their's was the obvious venue! We were all busy from quite early, with R, E and O beautifully decorating my house with long long runs of home made paper chain and ribbons. Their first guests to arrive (just after 11am) were a family of 4 and they very quickly had their tent pitched. After that there was a steady arrival of families throughout the day. I'm guessing in total we had about 40 people here (including some that didn't stay over), bringing food for the heaving buffet table. There were 8 visiting cars on the drive I think and 7 tents and the camper! M had made the most fantastic 7 layered rainbow birthday cake
and Daughter had made a long run of plain bunting for everyone to decorate with pens, hopefully adding their names as a keepsake of who came to their party this year. Well into the evening lots of the campers huddled round the portable fire pit toasting marshmallows coming in about 10pm-ish when it got far too cold for them (actually had been far too cold for me all along). I said good night well after midnight leaving about 6 adults still chatting.
Sunday - Noisy chaos for breakfast and bathrooms and making packed lunches was ongoing for a couple of hours really, then everyone left all heading to the Medieval Oyster Fayre in Colchester. The weather was not good at all, it was very wet and obviously was going to stay that way all day, (I decided not to go because of the weather) so there was lots of deciding about who was going to go in Tudor costume and who wasn't. Most had planned to and had it all with them but in the end the adults didn't and 6 children did (including my 3).
Authentic Tudor crisp packet of course :o)
Hubby and I took advantage of the empty house to have a major tidy up and then they all filtered back gradually in cold and wet states. Chilli had been bubbling away in three slow cookers all day (1meat, 1veg and 1veg no mushrooms) then I cooked up a load of rice and Daughter then served dinner with tortilla chips and grated cheese, yummy, in about 3 or 4 sittings. We even had extra guests for dinner. About 10pm one family packed their tent and headed home and all the rest stayed. I was the last to bed and started getting breakfast things ready on the table at 1am....unfortunately for me I opened the fridge door and a plastic pot of hummus and another of spicy tomato relish stuff hit the floor and exploded everywhere, all up my trouser legs and right across the floor, so not the end of the day I had hoped for and a much later night than I should have had :o(
Bank Holiday Monday - And another breakfast and bathroom scrummage. All the drivers were asked to have their cars off of the drive by mid-morning as we were setting up for our Jubilee Street Party. Some of the campers took this as a time to pack up and leave anyway and also some were happy to move their cars and stay for the street party too :o)
Bank Holiday Tuesday - Was a major clearing up day. Daughter came over and collected all her stuff together with a heap left behind by her guests posting a lost and found message to them all. Too wet for her to sort out the tent, gazebo or camper so they will have to wait for another day. I collected all the stuff left behind by the neighbours and it's in a huge box by the front door for collection. Food that wasn't thrown out is boxed (mostly cake) or fridged (mostly salads) or frozen (french sticks I've made into garlic bread).
All great fun and lots of people told us what a great time they had. Of course the clearing up and getting our house back to normal could take some time yet! I'm exhausted but so pleased we did it :o)