wings and things

The party

Last Saturday I invited a wonderful friend, Mike, who has done the painting in this house over many decades, for drinks at the nursing home at 3pm and my lovely friend, Mel, and her daughter, Emily, also joined us.

Of course it wasn’t the sort of party we might have had years ago when Anthony’s mother was alive, where the drinks were over flowing and the nibbles plentiful: champagne, pink gins, cinzano, cocktail sausages, oysters, assorted cheeses, pate, and other savouries. Neither was it the sort of party we had in Anthony’s pre-marriage-to-me bachelor days: lots of beer, roast chicken, steak on the barbecue, and, seasonally, crayfish.

It was a much simpler affair with just the five of us and the unexpected addition of a nephew from Perth, but this small number of people easily fills Anthony’s nursing home room and seems like a crowd. Also, despite the fact that none of us could drink much (or anything at all) due to having to drive home, and my bowl of almonds wasn’t popular, the open bottle of red wine, the wine glasses that I had ready, and a few bottles of warm beer, simulated a real party-of-old. We were all quite lively and attentive to Anthony and, thinking about it now, it wouldn’t have worked with any more people because it would have been too overwhelming for him.

After everyone left and Ants and I were talking about how lovely the occasion had been, I felt I’d hit on a great idea for the future. I could invite a handful of his many friends for the same kind of party every now and then; I might even be able to get a few of his friends and relatives that are a bit nervous of the nursing home to come along. Yes! I need to take the initiative here and do a bit of old-fashioned planning and inviting.

The next day, Mike emailed me this message:

Hey Julie, just a thank you for yesterday at the nursing home with Anthony.
I was happy to see Ants in a great frame of mind he is looking so well as to when I last saw him. I was laughing to myself all the way home with his comments to me when i told him that he waited until he was 55 then got married at 57, and he replied ” you’re an arsehole” he definitely hasn’t lost his sense of humour. I thought he was extremely bright also yesterday.

I’m thinking that the nursing home has done him the world of difference in knowing that he is being looked after so well in his stage of life with old age and all that goes with it.

Sadly yes he would still like to be home with his Julie and Ming on the farm but that is not possible now. We all realize that he is in the best possible care .

Family and friends can still get to visit him there for however long they have time to spend with him so long as it doesn’t tire him out, I noticed yesterday that he does tire out.

I will come see him again soon to stir him up or he to me.

It was good to see you again you are looking bright again since I last saw you on the farm the afternoon you brought Anthony out for afternoon visit.

Today, it was very easy to conjure Anthony’s newfound smile by reminding him of the party. This was our conversation:

Me: Wasn’t it great to see Mike again!
Ants: The food wasn’t good.
Me: Okay, so what do you want next time?
Ants: Hors d’oeuvres, you know, the ones ….
Me: That your mum used to make – yes I get that!
Ants: Is she all right?
Me: Who, Mel?
Ants: No, Mum.
Me: She’s fine, Ants.

Thanks so much, Mike, Mel, Em, and nephew Michael for being part of last Saturdays party!


Ming’s 20th birthday party

With around 70 guests (mostly 19-20 year-olds), a handful of parents, and a few of Ming’s older cousins, it was a resounding success. We did the lawns and madly tidied up beforehand:


We set up Anthony’s ancient stereo system, which Ming has now figured out how to operate. It has the most amazing sound which some would call LOUD:


We began to fill a cattle trough with ice and drinks as soon as it got a bit cooler (it was an extremely hot day):


The first guests began to arrive and Ming was given some suitable adornments:


More guests arrived:


The pizzas arrived:


I remained calm:


Ming made a short speech dedicated to his favourite topic – himself:


There was a bit of cigar debauchery but nothing else untoward happened …


… Except for an unexpected pole dancer (my gorgeous, incorrigible niece):


Here she is again, slightly more subdued, with her brother and husband.


Thanks, Ash, for rocking the party up a few notches, for taking most of these photos, and for making Ming’s party the best ever!


Party fizzog

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Oh well!

Due to a combination of things (Ants is having digestive issues, the nursing lodge is experiencing a mild flu outbreak, and it is another extremely hot day), I spent most of the morning ringing the people I’d invited to say the party was off. After all that last-minute planning and stressing, I have to admit I was rather relieved – ha!

Instead, Ming and I went in see Ants. We we will get him home tomorrow, which is his actual birthday.

It was still a good day and we took some photos of Ming’s new ute!


The party

Last night was Son’s 18th birthday PARTY! I didn’t mention it earlier because of my blog’s link to facebook; i.e. we didn’t want gatecrashers. Son and I spent all day manically getting the place ready, then went to visit Husband, then stopped at the local shop to buy a trough to put the ice and drinks in. I had let Son invite as many as he wanted but he kept it down to around 40, thank goodness.

Anyway, it was a resounding success with most of the kids staying the night in tents and swags.

This morning there are around ten kids still here, all sitting around one of the picnic tables out front, drinking copious amounts of water and eating leftover pizza (I over calculated on that one!) And this is only half of the pizza order.

Many of my friends thought I was crazy having that many teenagers all by myself, so I was pretty nervous, but there were no incidents. I solicited the presence of two older males for ‘crowd control’ but no control was needed. Instead they provided me with some adult company because, for some reason, I was overcome by shyness of the youngies and I don’t recall ever having felt so ancient as, for the first time ever, Husband wasn’t here to be the old person – hehe!

Son, dressed up for the occasion, was in heaven, as you can see!

He encouraged his friends to have a dip in the pool, and several had a swim since it was such a hot evening.

Okami and Uluru, the alpacas, decided to hide in the old dairy, then Okami thought the greenhouse might be safer.

Uluru wasn’t sure. He wanted to keep his options open.

The surreal thing about Son’s party is that, 11 months ago, we had one for Husband’s 75th so there was a little bit of deja vu going on in my head.

That was a very hot evening too but, strangely, none of the people at Husband’s party wanted to go for a swim!