Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Sunday Night Club

Sometimes, weeks in this house are so hectic that I often say a prayer on a Sunday night before I go sleep that I will survive the week ahead without dropping the ball. Packed with commitments - work, school, sports, social - and all the time, I am somehow keeping a diary for everyone, ensuring that the resident children have the necessary kit for each day ahead - swimming things, tennis things, trumpet - with fingers crossed that they have assembled the correct homework.

When we get to Friday, exhausted, I think, 'ha! made it through again' and look at the commitments for the weekend - ours and the children's who still require ferrying about to work, cricket, golf, extra maths and their social lives. Each week, I promise myself that at the weekend there will be all manner of jobs done - in the garden, clean the car (actually that's not true - car cleaning, I would like to remind my family, is not and never will be in my job description), in the house, decorating and all the other stuff. Sometimes it gets done or at least part of it generally does but jobs are never finished which is why my house is like the Forth Road Bridge - always a work in progress.

And then Sunday comes, and once the ferrying about is done, weeds pulled and other jobs started (but not finished) and the ironing pile becomes less like Everest and more like Almscliffe Crag, my beloved cooks a very excellent roast and Sunday Night Club begins.

Now here are the constituents of what we now call Sunday Night Club - fabulous dinner (not cooked by me but probably involving Biblical amounts of washing up ... by me), red wine (no apologies for this, there is no Sunday dinner without it), children - resident and otherwise, a selection of friends and lodgers and games. There is also excellent and undemanding Sunday night television but we are a little confused at the man from The Post Office (as child 3 called Larkrise to Candleford) leaving his wife and a ridiculous number of snotty-nosed children to turn up as a hobbling valet at Downton.

A proper Sunday Night Club always includes games. This means that we have to be feeling not too tired and emotional from the Saturday night - this week I was just looking for a pile of leaves to sleep under until springtime but that's what being surgically removed from the dancefloor at 2am does for you. In the summer, we play outdoor games - croquet being a particular favourite. Of course, we don't play the conventional version; this is 'extreme' croquet with molehills, slopes, flowerbeds and water hazards. Child 3 is especially proud of his skill at attaching a hosepipe to a garden implement so that if your ball comes within five yards you are almost certain to get soaked. Croquet is particularly brutal and my beloved goes from mild-mannered and charming to a complete bounder the minute a mallet is put in his hand.

Now that the evenings are drawing in, we are playing perudo which, for the uninitiated, is a dice game unsurprisingly involving lying. Recently we were selected to play in the World Championships (at a lovely house near Bolton Abbey) so much practising has been taking place. We have a league table on a blackboard in the kitchen and child 4 is currently topping the rankings. You wouldn't know, of course, unless you understood that we renamed the children recently before England disgraced themselves in the World Cup. Child 1 is Shontayne (can't accuse her of disgracing herself as she scarcely played), child 2 is Courtney (suspended during the Cup for an illegal tackle - must speak to her about that), child 3 is Alfonso (I know, he plays cricket for Somerset but actually he probably would have been as good as some of the team we took to New Zealand) and Manu is child 4. Other key players are Uncle Max - my beloved and a keen fan of the Sound of Music and Arlidge - the Barnsley lodger. Arlidge is my favourite player in the World Cup so far as he played fly-half for Japan and looks every bit as Japanese as me! Anyway, he scored all Japan's points against the French and frankly I think he should try being English - like Manu.

So all are welcome here on a Sunday night, provided you don't want intelligent conversation. We'll be playing games, shouting at the television (well, X Factor and Strictly do call for a lot of shouting) and enjoying a big feed with lashings (as Enid Blyton would say) of red wine. Oh, and we recently had an American here for SNC proving that we are not just two countries divided by a common language to quote Winston Churchill but two countries divided by the knife and fork! I think I'll stick to our way.