The “Non-Party”

The Non-Party

For as many years as I can remember (well, not really, but a lot!) we have hosted a party on New Year’s Eve. They are, if I’m honest, more Husband’s thing than mine, as I am basically a pretty unsociable person who likes to go to bed early; but marriage is all about give and take, and a fair helping of compromise, and these are my compromise.

Year after year, I have watched my house being rearranged, he has forced/encouraged our friends and family to dress in a variety of costumes, and then everyone has arrived, people have drunk and snacked and danced and generally had a happy time. Usually our children – now all grown up – have joined us and, as they seem to have more than an even proportion of Husband’s genes, they’ve helped and encouraged and been party to the party, year after year, and so have their friends. We have all dressed in pink, been toys, or sixties icons. And it has, I am forced to admit, been mainly fun.

However, last year, we realised that most of the ‘younger’ generation would probably not be attending (because they have all moved out) and the rest of us were dwindling in party enthusiasm (not Husband, it should be noted) so Husband announced that last year would be our last party.

Then, as 2018 progressed, the mood began to change. We began to discuss what we should do instead. I suggested that something small and low effort, like a meal with our friends in a pub would be nice. This evolved into a meal at Husband’s favourite Indian (aptly named Bollywood) followed by everyone coming home for drinks and cigars until midnight. There were a few tense conversations (which my son calls arguments) when we discussed (argued) about whether the “small group of friends meeting for dinner and then coming back afterwards” (my idea) was the same as “a dinner with lots of people at Bollywood, followed by a party at our house” (Husband’s idea) were the same thing. It became named the “non-party”, although I had a sinking feeling that actually, it was a party by another name.

Christmas came and went, and unlike previous years, I did not order masses of food ready for new year’s eve, because we weren’t having a party. Then the day itself arrived, and the mood changed. I began to see furniture moving around (something I hate) and lights being installed. All for our “non-party”. Then Husband asked me what I thought of his ‘disco lighting’ in the dining room, in case people wanted to dance, and I wondered how to tell him that I thought it would trigger epileptic fits.

I went to the fridge, to find all the contents removed, and replaced with bottles of drink, and lemons, and the flavours for cocktails – even though we weren’t having a party. A variety of ‘mood lights’ had been set up (so I put torches in strategic places for our friends who find it difficult to see unless the light is bright). All the candles in the house were placed on window sills, and the dog bed was moved into the utility room, with the dog and the cat, and all the muddy boots.

Eventually, it was time to leave. We met in Bollywood (Indian restaurant—remember?) and ate and chatted and laughed; and then we came home, for our non-party, and chatted and laughed some more. And it was lovely, and eventually I will find all the items that Husband moved to make the house tidy, and no one had an epileptic fit, and I might decide to keep the fridge stocked with alcohol rather than food.

So, all that remains is for me to wish you a very happy 2019, and to thank you, so very much, for continuing to read my blog.

Take care.
Love, Anne x

Anne E. Thompson writes a weekly blog. You can sign up to follow it at:
anneethompson.com
Anne has written several novels, which you can find in bookshops and online.
Thank you for reading.

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! I hope you have enjoyed the whole Christmas period and 2017 is a good one for you. I always think the new year is like an unopened gift, none of us know what it will bring, but it makes us look ahead, to think about things we might like to change or try harder with.

One thing I would like to change is a Christmas gift husband bought for our sons. We had a ‘Men in Black’ party, so he thought it would be a good idea to give them alien guns. It wasn’t. The gun lit up when fired and made a noise. A very loud, irritating noise. Like those toys which people who have never had children buy for your toddlers (and you remove the batteries as soon as they leave.) Except, my sons are not toddlers. They are 20 and 22.

Did you like my story? It was bit of an experiment. Modern European literature has everything in a story build towards the end, where the climax is. However, I have been reading about ancient Greek literature, where the climax, the most important part, is in the middle. It acts like a sort of hinge, with the elements on either side balancing each other. I found this a very interesting idea, so would like to try and write my next book, Clara Oakes, in this style. Not in a way that the reader especially notices, it will read like a normal novel, but just for my own amusement, to see if I can. So “One of those days…” was a practise for me. It was more difficult than I thought, though quite fun to write, bit of a challenge.
If you missed it, the link is:https://anneethompson.com/2016/12/27/one-of-those-days/

We saw a lot of the extended family over the holiday, which was nice. I’m very fortunate, as our family all gets on very well, the cousins enjoy being with each other and we share the same sense of humour. One tradition is a games evening at my sister-in-law’s. Each family takes a game, and we eat bacon sandwiches, and sit around on chairs and the floor, chatting and playing games.

One game was a memory game, which involved lots of changing seats and remembering names that changed every turn. I was completely confused the entire time.

Another game was a word game. We worked in pairs, and were given a word or picture. We then, independently, wrote a prescribed number of other words, which related to what we were given. This list was compared with our partner, and we got points for all those which were the same. So for example, one word was ‘Airport’. I wrote: Heathrow, Gatwick, Newark, JFK, Manchester, Luton, Stansted. My husband wrote all the same, except he wrote ‘City’ instead of Manchester, so we got 6 points.

My brother was with my mother. Trying to guess what my mother thinks is quite a challenge, so he had a very difficult job. For ‘Airport’, Mum wrote: planes, Ruth leaves, Ruth arrives, noise. He didn’t manage to match any of those (can’t think why!) My personal favourite was the word ‘Compass’. Mum wrote: come, pass, useful, Ben Tucker. Again, none of my brother’s words matched, though Mum was able to explain exactly how her choices were completely logical. It was very funny.

Of course, the couple who scored the highest were my sons. I sometimes think they’re the same person shared between two different bodies. Ever since son 2 was born, they have basically been a unit. Even now, when the second son returns home, his brother greets him in the hall and they start talking and they talk, or play computer games, or watch telly, until one of them leaves. They are in ‘boy world’ and the rest of us are outside. Which is nice. Unless they have alien guns. Then they’re just annoying.

Have a lovely 2017.
Take care,
Anne x