Back in April College Boy decided he deserved a party. He decreed that the party would be at Whitsun after the exams were finished so that all his mates from college could attend, and that he didn’t want Uni Boy or us oldies in the house.
With military precision (but only guarded consent from his parents) the Boy set about planning his party. We were presented with a list of potential attendees, and the knowledge that his two older (and marginally more sensible) friends were also coming, would stay the night and make sure the house didn’t get wrecked.
Permission was eventually given, and withdrawn on several occasions; usually as a result of refusals to stop yelling at his computer all night, put his dirty clothes in the wash, bring his cutlery and crockery downstairs (and put it IN the dishwasher – not just on the draining board) and to actually acknowledge the fact that his parents both own the house and have to go out to work to maintain it (roughly).
Uni Boy very gracefully gave permission for College Boy’s two mates to sleep in his room (apparently several other mates would be sleeping in the front room – number unknown). Lovely Hub and I arranged to go to the Laugh Inn in Chester for the evening and to drive back very slowly – there was some initial talk about us staying out till 0100 hours but we both knew that we’d never last out that long.
The week before the party, when all the invitations had been sent out and some of the stuff bought, my Lovely Dad got taken into hospital. One of the things we discussed as we sat in A and E majors waiting for a hospital bed, was College Boy’s party and whether I should cancel it.
“Let the lad have his party, he’s been planning it for months.”
So with his blessing we went ahead. My Dad got worse and each day brought new stresses but in the true nature of the teenager, College Boy was only really interested in his party – which was going to be epic. He loved his grandad but was of the opinion that he would want the party to go ahead anyway (he was right but I didn’t tell him that).
Hub and I bought some storage boxes and watched through gritted teeth whilst CB packed our mementos away and put them in the garage (they are still there). Our cluttered and chaotic house was gradually deconstructed and after a last-minute Mum and Dad – ish dash to ASDA for nibbles (You are SO old-fashioned – NOBODY eats at parties anymore), and scribbled notes with my mobile number poked through the doors of our immediate neighbours warning them about the party, we left.
CB’s best buddies had already arrived, along with six chums from college who might or might not be staying the night. I remembered them all from playschool and nursery – my, how they had grown.
On the way to Chester I got a text from our joined on neighbour, in reply to my note – “I’d better turn the telly up then.” A man of few words but very welcome ones.
We had pizza at the Laugh Inn, drank rather a lot of wine (me) and saw three very good comics and a review act called Raymond and Mr Timms who were so original and funny that my sides ached from laughing. No longer interested in bopping the night away, we left there about elevenish – wondering what we could do for the next hour.
Years ago before we became a 24-hour civilisation, there used to be an all-night garage near our old home down South. As well as petrol, they sold a limited stock of munchy food – principally Fruit and Nut chocolate. It was still there when Uni Boy was born and there were often nights when he was colicky and going out in the car was the only way to soothe him. Lovely Hub would drive us to the garage, stock up on Fruit and Nut, and we’d go down to Portsdown Hill to eat chocolate and watch the lights over Pompey for an hour or so. So, for me, late-night sojourns will always be associated with Fruit and Nut.
Some people are funny about graveyards but I find them fascinating. We both like panoramic views and the hill overlooking the Walton Cemetary is one of the best – especially at night. So we stopped at a garage, loaded up with Fruit and Nut, and headed for the hill to kill some time (quite apt considering).
As we sat there, nattering and munching, a police car pulled up beside us and the occupant shone her torch in our window. We explained our situation and the policewoman was very sympathetic. She thought we’d got off quite lightly because we were at least allowed to come home – whereas she’d had to go away for a whole weekend when her son had a party. She giggled and her words will stay in my mind forever.
“I’ve been up here loads of times, I’ve seen people doing drugs, I’ve seen them having sex, but this is the first time I’ve found someone sitting here eating Fruit and Nut.”
We strung it out a bit longer but by eleven forty-five the chocolate was gone and we just wanted to go home. I texted CB – “Can we come home now please?” and put my phone on charge. As a consequence it wasn’t until we pulled into the driveway that I looked at my phone again and discovered his reply.
“Can you stay out for another hour please?”
A boy and girl were sitting on the wall outside our house chatting and drinking out of bottles. CB’s best buddies – far more sober than me – met us on the patio and escorted us into the house. No one had died – so far. We trotted up the stairs and shut ourselves into our bedroom. There were people in my office next door – despite a CB poster threatening trespassers with dire consequences. CB sent them off downstairs and informed us that we were now officially ‘cool parents’ because we hadn’t stopped the party. Someone turned the volume up on the music.
We agreed that it would all end at one o’clock; Hub and I sat down to watch old editions of HIGNIFY and QI on the Dave channel – oh no not more laughing – but were disturbed by the news that one of our neighbours was outside and threatening violence if the music wasn’t turned off. None of our immediate neighbours would dream of doing such a thing so Hub went to investigate. It turned out that the guy WAS a neighbour but not one that we knew, and he’d run off to wherever he came from anyway.
The party wound down then and we ventured downstairs. The little girls I knew from nursery had blossomed – oh boy had they blossomed – and were wearing hardly-there dresses and teetering on high heels (I even saw a pair of Louboutins in my kitchen). For some reason people had pinched all our whiteboard markers (for the year planner in the kitchen) and written all over each other’s arms. ?!!
We were left with CB’s buddies and five of the original six youths, who were staying the night. CB announced himself too knackered to do anything but go to bed, so it fell to Hub and I to ensure there was no broken glass, supply blankets and turn out the major lights – side lights left on because they were all watching the Dave channel downstairs. It was about two am by then so we went to bed.
My alarm goes off around six am during the week; I switch it off on the weekends unless Lovely Hub is on earlies, but my body still wakes up for six and it did the next morning. I surfed and checked Twitter and Facebook but decided I was still tired and went back to bed. As a consequence, when I got up again, dressed and went downstairs, all our guests were up and five of them – who had promised that they would help clear up – had bogged off.
CB’s best buddies were still there and hadn’t wrecked Uni Boy’s room. We sat and talked for a while till their lift came then Hub and I, armed with kitchen roll and black bin liners, set about restoring the equilibrium of our house.
There were puzzling things; why was the downstairs bath covered in muddy footprints? Why were there small red peppers in the garden? Why did the garden table lean at a crazy angle? Where had all the milk gone? Where did this bunch of teenagers get the money to buy all this booze from? Would the cat ever recover from the trauma (no – he died two days later but the incidents do not appear to be linked) and was there any trouble whilst we were out?
It appears that the girls were walking barefoot and washed their feet in the bath before putting their Louboutins back on.
The small red peppers were Ghost Peppers – hotter than Scotch Bonnets apparently and the only way to cool your mouth down once you’ve eaten them is to drink milk – Aha! another question answered.
A lad called Gibbo, who is big, muscly and plays a lot of rugby, sat on the edge of our iron table and bent the legs. He was very sorry.
The cat escaped from the catservatory several times but was put back there by CB quite solicitously – heaven only knows (literally) what he made of it all.
Apart from the angry neighbour, the local PCSOs called in during the early part of the evening. they were just making inquiries about a fight that occurred a couple of streets away – nothing to do with us. One of the more sober lads asked them if the music was okay and should he turn it down? Apparently they said no – the music was fine, in fact they quite liked that group.
CB was very reluctant to help tidy up – so fatigued was he by his partying, but by using cunning, threats and outright bribery, Hub got him to help us put the house back together. He has decided that he will only attend parties in future; organising them is too much like hard work (another prospective career path down the Swanny for him then!)
He is off to a party tonight. He went to a party at the same house a year ago and got very drunk. We had been told he’d gone to a mate’s for a sleepover. We were a little surprised to find that he (and about thirty classmates) were attending a party a couple of miles away and had in fact all just been thrown out of the house. The call from a friend stated that CB was sitting on the pavement, smiling , wet and covered in sick.
Hub was due to go to work on a night duty but we sped over there, scooped up our smiley drunk, his friend – drunk but not sick – and the good friend who called us and who was on crutches. At the end of the road I could see a bunch of locals circling like vultures, ready to pounce on the pack of posh school kids with their short dresses, tight jeans and iPhones. Hub did a handbrake turn and we were out of there. CB turned out to be an amiable drunk who – when plied with much water – didn’t even get a hangover.
Ooh! Stop Press! The party has been cancelled! Trying to hide my deep joy; it is chucking it down, Lovely Hub is paintballing in the Brecon Beacons this weekend so we have no transport and this means my two little birds will be staying in the nest with me – I can put up with their arguments, at least they are safe.
Now, where’s that Fruit and Nut?