Eileen's 60th

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Eileen's 60th
Christmas 2006

 

 

The Birthday Party at Bromley Court Hotel

The Smiths arrived at the hotel at 2pm and checked in.   They met the duty manager and ordered some teas and coffees in the lounge area and then went to look at the tables set up in the dining room.    These were beautifully decorated with floral arrangements and the room looked fabulous.    Jason and Gareth then volunteered to blow up the balloons and Mel and Mandy decorated the tables and put banners all around the room.    Eileen got the Heads of Table cards out and the place cards which doubled as badges.

 The first people they met were Chris and Paul, already in the bar and then Maggie and John arrived.   Afterwards cousins arrived in droves.   There was a little moment of panic when Dave and Isobel did not seem to have a room booked but this was down to Eileen’s typing as she’d typed Wright not Bright.   

 The weather was foul and it seemed that the directions to the hotel which she’d taken from the internet were not particularly good.   Shirley had driven up from Whitstable with Margaret and Pearl and somehow ended up in Godstone but they got there in the end.    And then Bobby and Patrick arrived somewhat flustered as they had got completely lost and parked in the National Car Park and got a taxi.   

 Jim came down to mingle with the guests and fix any problems which arose and then Gill and Alan arrived, then Glen and Gill and Anne and Richard.    Marg and Berne arrived just ahead of Ken and Sue and Barry and Ellen and it took Berne nearly half an hour to prise Marg away to get her and the cases to their room.   Uncle Bill arrived with his violin having had an horrendous journey but his faithful Tom-Tom got him there in one piece.

 She had asked for some plates and a knife so they could cut the cake but these never appeared.    What did appear was another party who started on the teas and coffees but they disappeared after twenty minutes or so when it was discovered that their refreshments were being served in another bar.    

Then Margaret realised that she and Diane did not eat meat and it was a set meal.   Eileen pointed out that she’d asked for any special dietary requirements back in September but Margaret said they were not really ‘special.’   However, Jim got this fixed too so they got a nice vegetarian meal.   There were three people who could not come at the last minute so Jim fixed it that the table places were removed so that there was not a gaping hole in the table plan.

 After so much meeting and greeting, it was time to put on the frock so she went up to their room and sorted out Dave and Isobel who were having problems with the key and thought they’d have to come down to dinner without their finery on.

 After a shower and wash of the hair she left Rob to finish getting ready and went down to greet the guests with a Bucks Fizz.    She herself was on lime and soda as she wanted to remember every minute of the evening.  

 She met Linda, Ron, Denise, Malcolm and Nicky in the lounge and then went into the bar.   Margaret and Pearl came down in the lift with a gentleman they had never met.   “Are you an Armhole?” asked Pearl much to his chagrin as he was not with the same party.

 Jim had fixed it for Marg and himself to greet guests outside the bar area on arrival and then feed them into the bar in an orderly fashion.   This arrangement worked very well and it did get very crowded and noisy in the bar.   Jim fixed it for the meal to be served a little earlier so that they could encourage people to find their places.

 Oliver and John were playing and singing in the dining room and could not be heard over the din in the bar but as everyone went into dinner it was really very pleasant to hear them in the background and everyone was impressed.

 Eileen then did a little speech trying to introduce everyone but she stumbled rather when she got to the emotional bits about how much she loved Jim, Marg and Rob’s two girls.   But she thinks everyone knew what she wanted to say.

 The meal was excellent and the wine flowed.    Before the champagne, Jim made a speech and the grandchildren made a presentation to her.    Jim then presented her with fifty roses which were absolutely fantastic.     They all sang Happy Birthday and For She’s a Jolly Good Fellow and then everyone went out to the bar for coffee.

 Here she was surprised to find a projector on which was being played a DVD which Jo had been working on since October.   There were old photographs, interviews with friends and family, an ode by Gwyn about her teeth and much more.    Apparently this was just a summary of the material on the real DVD which she would get later to watch at leisure.   Most of it including Gwyn's ode "Toothy Peggy" can be seen on Jo's blog and this is the link  http://jo-firstblog.blogspot.com/

 Once the tables were cleared, Oliver and John entertained everyone again and kept the volume just right so that folks could natter or dance or join in the songs.    Everyone said how good they were and how nice it was that they did not mind people talking while they played.   

 While they were playing she went in search of a quickstep.    Remembering her brother had been to the same dancing school, she got him on the floor.    However, she quickly realised that he had forgotten everything he had been taught.    But the moment was recorded by Jo on a video-clip which everyone would see later. 

Link to video-clip http://video.google.co.uk/videoplay?docid=1389948947494987765&pr=goog

She then realised that it was 10.30 and the cousins still wanted to perform a few family songs and Uncle Bill might want to play the violin.   So Oliver and John finished at this point and the Disco started up.

 She also managed a jive with Berne who is the best jiver in the country.     This left her a little hot so she went outside to cool down a bit.    On her return, cousin Harry made a little speech which no one understood and presented her with a lovely wall hanging which Pat had put together but which all the cousins had signed separate parts of the patchwork.   

 Elisabeth, her French teacher said she had some gatecrashers but these turned out to be guests at another party in the hotel restaurant who knew Elisabeth and who wanted to hear Oliver singing.   They loved it as much as everyone else.

 The disco guys tried to get everyone on the floor again but this time were stopped by Marg who then said quite a few words.   She said she had posted people around the hall who would let her know if she was not making sense or if she had gone on too long.   She had everyone in fits about some of things she and the birthday girl had done together over the last forty years.    It was also very moving as she had made a little bag up and in it were sixty pieces of paper on which she had written all the qualities she saw in her best mate.   

 The disco had another go at getting everyone on the floor but were stopped again by cousins Jean, June and Doreen performing “All The Rage” which ended up at each chorus with most of the cousins joining in with a knees-up and then sitting down again for the next verse.    June and Doreen then did “I’m a Lady Policeman” for which they had made truncheons but they had forgotten to pack them.     Vince then got up to do Birlington Berty and then he and Eileen did “Outside the Lunatic Asylum.”   Gwyn said afterwards that only Eileen would have got up to perform with a one-armed man a song which needed actions.

 The disco started up and Uncle Bill was asked if he’d play in the bar area while those who wanted to dance carried on in the hall.    This was all set up.   Uncle Bill had printed out song-sheets for everyone and out came the violin.    Everyone piled off the dance floor and into the bar for the singsong.    It was the icing on the cake for her and made her evening complete.