Tuesday, 3 September 2013

En Fête - 120 Glorious Years!

A brilliant present

The In-Charge and my friend DodoWoman, (Lord Dodo's Chief Archivist and Dodoodler) have, almost simultaneously, reached a Momentous Birthday.
Occasions such as this are mercifully rare deserve to be duly noted, so of course I instantly consulted with Lord Dodo himself, in the hope of securing the infamous peer's marvellous residence for the festivities.
Alas, it was not to be. Dodo Towers had already been reserved by a troupe of Transylvanian transvestites and his Lordship felt bound to honour the booking, so I gamely volunteered to hold the celebration here instead.

We can't, of course, compete with Dodo Towers in terms of either space or grandeur, but we did our best.
With the help of my Wwoofers Jil and Marco, the preparations began. For days we spat and we polished, we pruned and planted, we unearthed and unpacked; we washed and dried; we begged and borrowed, we sorted and swept, until finally things started to take shape.

We planted - or, in some cases, just polished our toe nails

In truly indodispensable fashion, Lord Dodo himself helped dodecide the menu and dodelegated his chef to produce various dodelicious dishes for the event. Lots of lovely guests also offered to bring edible gifts to the feast, which was wonderful, so after a relatively unstressful blitz in the kitchen, we were able to devote time to far more important things like putting up marquees, making cupcakes and bunting and blowing up balloons.
(Some of us merely spent the extra time looking out our party frocks collars.)

A quick nap before the party begins

But at last everything was ready.

Lord Dodo's chef and assistants

Contrary to all our expectations, the north west coast of Ireland has not recently basked under constantly blue skies. Our earlier good fortune this summer has left us full of optimism, but this isn't Nice, after all.
I had given up hope of actual sunshine. My nightly request, on prayer-flattened knees, had been that it just wouldn't rain.
Sunday dawned, as a friend of mine would say, 'middlin' blowy', ie with winds gusting up to 45km. But it wasn't wet, and there is nothing like a breeze to make the balloons dance, the bunting sing - and the marquee take off and pirouette out to sea.
Happily the In-Charge had weighted the marquee down with old window-sash leads, and DodoWoman had sent out a Meteorological Dress Code Warning the night before, so everyone arrived with their summer best suitably over-wrapped in snuggily jackets and body-warmers.
And after a few glasses of Pimms in the garden, some wonderful fritters and a good natter with an old chum or two, who cares about the weather?

The party takes off - but mercifully the gazebo doesn't

Later the party moved into the marquees in the courtyard.

I want the courtyard to look like this every day

It had taken a good bit of head-scratching and pencil-sucking to work out how 65 or 70 people could all sit down together now that we weren't, after all, dining at Dodo Towers; but then my American friend told me that the best hostess she knows in New York always says: 'Put the tables close together, and pack 'em in tight.'
So we did.
From 18 months to 95 years old, they all squashed in and it was fab.

Overflow tables, and even wheelchair access!

The morning after

Lots of people said lots of nice things, and DodoWoman and the In-Charge were given cards, gifts, flowers and good wishes by kind people. I was even given flowers myself by a charming old gentleman.
Someone said it was a perfect way to end the season, another that it was the party of the summer, but I think the most memorable comment came from one of our youngest guests.
Ten-year old Ezekiel looked around critically before uttering his verdict.

'Great venue', he said, nodding sagely.

It may not be Dodo Towers, but what a compliment.

The Teen Queen checking that there definitely aren't any more sausages left over


  1. Splendiferous felicitations, it sounds (and the images corroborate completely) fandabulous. I'm so sorry to have missed it. And many happy returns for the birthday pair. Lord Dodo will have to look to his laurels - his place in the venue market is tottering!

  2. A scrumptious feast, and not even a hint of the soft rain. Blessed birthday indeed.
    If I give you due notice when my 60th is upon me, will you host the Party at your house too?

  3. Not being familiar with DodoTowers, I have to say I can't imaging a better venue that your garden and courtyard.
    And sure once it doesn't rain it's grand.


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