herald

Monday 11 December 2017

Throwing a party is no pleasure

Parties scare me. I'm not a huge fan of throwing them, although entertaining at home now and then is good because it frightens me into scrubbing the place down before the guests arrive.

But I do hate the pressure of having people over. I mean, people can be so non-committed and well, rude. They will wait and see what the weather is like or ask who else is coming. They won't RSVP until they're sure a better offer doesn't turn up.

Would you bother? Is it really worth the stress?

The last time I had a really big party was over a decade ago when I moved into my first home. Everybody said I needed to have a housewarming party so I did.

Was the house warmed? Hell, it nearly went on fire! What with everybody smoking and jumping around the make-shift dance floor and drunkenly snogging each other, I thought they would never leave. I have tended to steer clear ever since.

Of course, now that my child is three it's a whole different ball game. He knows what parties are all about. He was at one last week and was well aware of the cake, and the fact that he had to give a present to the birthday girl and not keep it for himself like he initially wanted to. He also was delighted with his goodie bag complete with bubbles and a bracelet (I told him it was a fun watch).

I mentioned in passing a couple of weeks ago that I might have a little tea party to celebrate Gary's third birthday.

"Oh go for it," my mother enthused. "He doesn't turn three every day."

True, I thought. How difficult could it be to organise a party for three-year-olds? Not difficult at all, I reckoned. And relatively cheap, no doubt.



Entertainment

Eh, not exactly. I contacted a clown and thought he was being funny when he mentioned his rate. But, no, he was being serious.

Right, that's it so. If ever my books stop selling I'm going to don a curly wig, a fake nose and make sausage dogs out of balloons at the weekends. But, in the meantime, I need to put my career as an entertainer on hold as I get through this one party.

Mum and I went to a party shop to get supplies. By the time I'd purchased the colourful napkins, paper cups, party hats, table cloth and party bags, there wasn't much change from ¤100.

"I could have gone on holidays for that," I said to my mum as I put the goodies in the car boot.

"Ah yes, but Gary only turns three once."

So I came home and made up the party bags. As I filled them I remembered that there had been no sweets or lollipops in the bags at the last party Gary attended. Suppose giving sugary treats to other kids was frowned upon? Should I leave the sweets in or out? My head was in a spin. My credit card had taken a hammering and the party hadn't even started.

"I wish I hadn't started this," I heard myself moaning.

"Gary will only turn three . . ."

"Once," I swiftly concluded my mother's sentence. "I know. I heard you the first time."

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