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WEEKEND WEB: Garden party anyone?

John Ward
John Ward

WARD’S WORLD: By John Ward

The weather must be picking up as I just received an unexpected invite to a garden party/bash/thingamajig to add to the events calendar/diary to go to once, hopefully, the ‘global warming’ stops bucketing down.

I think these type of events nowadays seem to attract either downpours of the aforesaid ‘global warming’ or nasty garden type bugs that can sense a human being at 20 bites or less but years ago it seemed to be a different situation then as I think it was a case of a sort of merry-go-round that people were able to become miniature sausage roll and minute sandwich connoisseurs but one event springs to mind that I did not attend but I heard all about after.

It was quite a bash by all accounts that mum, of the people for the people, attended with her friend Jean as anybody who was considered to be ‘anybody’ were not there but regardless things still carried on going as they were meant to be (it’s assumed) but you can never tell in some cases.

Margaret was the real life equivalent of BBC TV’s ‘Hyacinth Bucket’ and being one of mum’s chums (vaguely), she also had delusions of grandeur as she too like her television doppelganger considered herself to be a dab hand at organising events (bashes) where she would be the soul centre of attraction (sadly).

This particular happening/event/catastrophe took place in her back garden or as was written on the invitations: ‘The Family Rear Garden Entertainment Area’ or apparently as her husband Ray put it: ‘that bit where we used to have the bonfires to burn the garden rubbish on before the self righteous ‘save the ozone’ squad two doors up made all the silly noises about the smoke, so we then bagged it up and put it out for the bin-men (Urban Area Refuse Disposal and Environmental After Care Facility Operatives) to take away instead’.

Atta-boy, Ray – always one to say it as it should be said.

Margaret was having this by invitation social event/bash in order to raise awareness of such or wotever cause was then the current flavour of the month in such circles and had sent invitations out to assorted supposed ‘in’ names as opposed to real people in the hope that whatever light shone on them, would no doubt also shine on her by her very endeavours or as its better known as, social ladder climbing or as mum pointed out afterwards she was basically in the milking stool level of such things as opposed to ladders.

Jean later said she could not imagine why she and mum had got invites although dad summed it up in one word – desperation or then again two words, sheer desperation – but realistically to make the number up.

Mum and Jean arrived just after ‘the tapes had gone up’ in horse racing terminology as not to appear to overshadow any supposed ‘important’ guests that Margaret was keen to impress herself with and were shown through to the said ‘The Family Rear Garden Entertainment Area’ or ‘that bit just outside the back door’.

Margaret pointed out that since they had been there last, she and Her Raymond (Ray) had decided to have a super de luxe ‘top of the range’ conservatory, The Regal, triple glazed in fade-free Old English White PVC, with 20 year guarantee (she just happened to have a brochure handy to give them one each!) as an addition to the family home and she wondered (actually she used her posh voice as these folk do on such occasions as she really said ‘wandered’) what mum and Jean thought of it.

This was at best a foolhardy thing to ask of these two but Jean stood in silent wonderment as mum offered her judgement: ‘They have come a long with these glorified plastic bike sheds with windows in ’em haven’t they, our Jean?’

Margaret suddenly realised she was wanted in the ‘designated catering area’ (kitchen) as the staff (her sister Peggy) would need her input as off she went with a whispered message that they should ‘mingle a bit’ but not to upset anybody ‘important’ but as Jean said, how would they know who was ‘important’ or otherwise?.

Time was moving on by now as more people, ‘important’ and common folk although still mystifying as to tell one breed from another, but the catering staff (AKA Peggy in her pinny ably assisted by Isobel, another who looked and felt like she had also picked the short straw) arrived with real imitation silver salvers ‘adorned with succulent hand prepared nibbles’ (sarnies, small) for ‘everyone to enjoy’.

As with such occasions Jean remarked later that it was like watching a plague of locusts attack its prey as everything edible seemed to be taken in one swoop.

Mum and Jean managed to grab a few ‘succulent hand prepared nibbles’ but spent a while analysing their content and their observations are shared now: mum thought the cucumber was amazing in that it was cut so thin, she was keen to ask what thickness of razor blade was used plus point out whoever had achieved this marvel might be better employed in the skin grafting side of plastic surgery as anybody with a still hand that can cut that cleanly is wasted banging out sarnies, sorry, ‘succulent hand prepared nibbles’.

Jean’s observations were that everything was so small and this was perhaps the only time she had eaten inch long sausage rolls and found that she had got one wedged between her teeth.

Mum was impressed with the tea it seems and complemented Peggy on being able to train a swarm of gnats to club together to provide the liquid required to the right density or thickness so that you could actually see the spoon turning in the cup while stirring as it was so thin.

Margaret came around to them and asked if they would ‘mingle much more, ladies’ as both of them looked at her as she suggested they ‘get into small talk with other people thar’ (there) although again no stipulation as to ‘important’ or common folk but undeterred, off they went and found a couple also looking bored rigid as mum entered into doing as suggested, small talk.

‘Have you noticed the prices of stuff in the shops keep going up, but the box is kept the same size of course but what’s inside is quite small – the size of SoandSo’s jam and cream sponge the other week barely filled a tea plate but yonks ago it fitted a dinner plate and was something to go at – its only the plastic bit inside that stops it rattling around in the box..’ might not have been what Margaret had in mind but it certainly captured the listeners imagination it seems.

Jean, not to be left out, remarked to stunned guests that Ronnie Corbett had done quite well for himself even when not on the telly with Ronnie Barker.

They managed to survive that event and how I came to hear, from both of them, how it went but they were not invited to the next one as it was to ‘celebrate’ Raymond’s new personalized car number plate to which Jean was slightly mystified but mum explained it was his initials and not what he was or what people thought of him as.


There goes that song


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