An Alfresco Birthday Party

603877_10153036980050428_4354530538375350352_nIt was my granddaughter Jessica’s eighth birthday yesterday. She and her sister Imogen and friends were taken out for a pizza and there were four extra little girls sleeping over at Haywood Road, Mapperly that night. Louisa posted some photographs on Facebook. Except that Jessica’s mother, Louisa, enjoyed a May birthday, and could have the parties in the garden in Newark by the time she was eight, this, for me, was reminiscent of my daughter’s own celebrations.

I was, of course, in attendance at Louisa’s events with the camera. I still haven’t found any of the negatives of these, so have resorted to scanning prints from her seventh birthday in May 1989. Here is a selection from a great deal more:Louisa's birthday party 5.89 Kate & children 2 007Louisa's birthday party 5.89 Kate with children 1 006

Our teenaged baby-sitter, Kate, was engaged to organise the games in this particular party, and a great job she made of it.Louisa's birthday party 5.89 Emma C, Louisa, Blake, Jason & Matthew C 005Louisa's birthday party Emma C, Sam, Sarah-Jane, Louisa, Blake, Jason 004

One particular activity involved each child in turn moving forward for a purpose which now escapes me. First Louisa, then Sam, are having a go. The others sat behind them and waited their turn.Louisa's birthday party 5.89 Sam 013

For some reason Sam sported a T-shirt bearing a facsimile of my signature.Louisa's birthday party 5.89 Sarah-Jane 003

Some of these children, like Sarah-Jane Hyde have remained lifelong friends.Louisa's birthday party 5.89 Matthew C 011

Matthew Colbourne was to provide the musical entertainment on the evening of Louisa’s wedding to Errol.Louisa's birthday party 5.89 Kay & Wayne 001Louisa's birthday party 5.89 Wayne & Jason 002Louisa's birthday party 5.89 Jason 010

Others dropped out of the circle after a while. Louisa’s parties were to continue for another  seventeen years, by which time the activities and the groupings had changed a bit.Louisa's birthday party 5.89 Jessica 012Louisa's birthday party 5.89 Louisa 008Louisa's birthday party 5.89 Sam and Louisa 009Louisa's birthday party 5.89 Jessica, Kate, and children at tea table 014Louisa's birthday party 5.89 Kate and children at tea table 015

Jessica provided a general oversight, but more importantly, plentiful party platters to be devoured at tables on the lawn.

Louisa was able to send her photographs around the world seconds after she had taken them. The process, for me, has taken rather longer. Such is the march of technology.

This evening’s platters for Jackie and me contained her smoked haddock and cauliflower cheese (recipe) meal that I call her symphony in white. Fried leeks were added today, and it was followed by sticky toffee pudding and custard. We both drank Cimarosa Zinfandel rose 2013.


  1. I love this post, Derrick. The photographs are so wonderful and i especially like the one taken from the viewpoint of the head of that long table filled with the children. With its variety of chairs and every inch covered with plated delights, it reminds me of some impish tea with the Mad Hatter. It is fabulous.

    1. Many thanks Ginene. So pleased you like it. It was always a bit like Alice in Wonderland. The pleasing thing is that as they all got older they drank more than I ever could well into the night, and everything was cleared, bagged up and taken away by 10 a.m. the next morning. Louisa shared this one on her Facebook page and I got an alert from WordPress announcing that there had been 65 viewings in an hour!

  2. There’s Jessica now 11, looking backwards! This party looks like a lot of fun! Everyone is attractive in your extended family, Derrick and Jackie! They take after their gorgeous grandparents! ? It is always fun to get to be a “guest” to one of these festivities! ???

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