Monday, the beginning of a new week.
I put my dressing gown on at 4.00 p.m.
Lay on my back with my legs in the armchair, threw my arms behind my head and fell asleep.
My body had taken a battering from Orla’s sweet potatoes – pureed..
Lentils – with tofu and tomatoes.
New potatoes with dill, capers and olive oil.
Walnut and something pate.
Egg and onion.
Smoked salmon, bagels and cream cheese.
And way too much champagne. I mean way tooooooo much.
Yesterday, my little cottage which seats six at a push, had fifty people stretching over each other to taste the aforementioned feast.
Plus those 4 kilos of gluten free, chicken sausages.
Barry arrived with a bottle of champagne that would have quenched the thirst of a Spartan Army and four more bundles of gluten free bangers.
The Dave’s came with boxes of Ferrerra Roche.
The Jill&Jeff’s came with roses wrapped in tin foil.
The Caroline&Delboys came with chocolates and cd’s.
The Dejongs came with pampering creams.
The Edwards arrived with a big bunch of spinach and very long stemmed chrysanthemums.
Others came with sweets, home made biscuits, dips, jerky for the three dogs and endless cartons of healthy childrens drinks.
The celebration was for the Jewish New Year, the Autumn Equinox, the end of an era, the start of new beginnings, the reminder that we are none of us alone, although we all are totally alone. By 11.30 the noise, the mess, the confusion and the music had made the little cottage hum with energy.
People laughed a lot, talked loudly, danced even and spent a good deal of time telling each other why they so loved being part of our extended family.
My first cousin called the sausages a widows memory, or some such crudity, made her second cousin, my daughter laugh with glee. My mother sat, all 88 years of her, in the centre of the big settee receiving people like they were her subjects. The ‘oosbind poured wine, of all colours, from noon till midnight. I skipped around hugging, crying, explaining, laughing and enjoying the fact that today, Monday the beginning of a new week, would normally have been spent wishing I had ended my day earlier than it should have been. But what is normal any more, I no longer have a normal life…..
Our annual Jew Doo, gets ever more racous as we get older. It’s like we’ve got nothing to lose.
All the children are taller than last year, all the parents are happy that their children are playing in different combinations. All my fancy gew-gaws get scattered over the bedroom floor. All the cushions get squashed. All the carpets get grubby. The dogs get stuffed, every surface gets a mug, a glass a cup a half eaten sarnie. The Sykpe gets used, this year we welcomed our Sybil into the chaos, all the way from Hollywood.
Each year somebody new gets introduced into the mix. This year we had B’s 2 music buddies and my mate Barry the genius.
As the last guest left in the rain I heaved out the hoover.
By 2.00 a.m. I had vacuumed away leaves, dog hairs, chocolate wrappers, babies socks and the crumbs of quiches. I fell into bed with Jim and the cat and slept the sleep of the bedraggled.
Today, the beginning of the new beginnings, should have been more disciplined, I should have eaten something more substantial than a bowl of sauted potatoes and a square of 90% chocolate, but it’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to.
As do’s go, this one was worthy of the Year of the Tiger. We have survived accidents, emergencies, breakages, and unexpected occurances. With a little help from Monsieur Cliquot we all feel we can deal with whatever the Gods of Chaos throw at us, and bearing in mind that Barry’s bottle of goodwill is still chilling in the cellar it’s as well to remember that when the going gets tough the tough get squiffy.
Well they do in this house.
I’m sure the angels of mercy will allow me one day of indulgence in the knowledge that tomorrow I start with a new timetable. I haven’t drawn it up yet but normal service will be resumed as soon as the bin men remove thirty eight thousand bottles of redemtive liquor.
Here’s to all our new beginnings.