Today I am feeling a little low. I think it is partly because the weekend was so much fun, but I have returned to the reality of a lot of work to do, and many reasons why it is difficult to get it done, not least that our bathroom is being ripped out and replaced today.
It was a very good weekend trip: we stayed with J & C, visited Mr A's parents who live in the area, and then onwards to other friends for a most interesting assignment. While sorting out dad's stamps and coins a while ago, we looked through some ancient family heirlooms - old jewellery, little trinkets, that sort of thing. Mr A has an old friend who's an antique dealer, so we arranged to take round the shoebox with all this treasure, so he could look over it and see if there was anything of value in the hoard.
He had a great time sorting through the little boxes and bags at all sorts of odds and ends. He was so enthusiastic, and got out his lenses and a little weighing device and his acid kit for testing metals. There isn't anything particularly valuable, although he thought one of the watches might be worth a few hundred pounds.
The real reason for the weekend away, however, was Mr B's 60th birthday party. Mr B is one of Mr A's oldest friends; they used to fix up old cars together for racing, and churned up the New Forest in their Landrovers when that was still allowed. Mr B was the one who invited Mr A to join him on a car rally through Africa, and introduced us to a set of great people who have turned out to be lasting friends.
Mr B is an eccentric chap, while his wife is a solid rock of sensibleness. He has a large workshop full of detritus from 60 years of not throwing anything away - cars (many cars), dressers, biscuit tins, rusty tools, chairs, machinery, bookcases, other random furniture - I'm sure I once saw a piano in there.
Last time we saw him was at the wedding party, where he let on that he had just acquired a smoke machine, a foam machine and a bubble machine. The groom told us how at one point Mr B had approached him, and simply asked "Smoke, foam or bubbles?" After trying for some time to produce bubbles, Mr B realised that he had filled the machine with the liquid that produces smoke.
Anyway, Mr and Mrs B and their two daughters must have put an enormous amount of effort into the party - a marquee, tables and chairs, lights, balloons, food and drink. It even had a pirate theme, although this message hadn't percolated through to us at all, so we were in the minority dressed in standard outfits, surrounded by a motley crew of pirates.
Towards the end of the evening, sitting chillin' in the marquee, we asked Mr B why he hadn't set up any of his smoke, foam or bubble machines? A little while later, smoke started to billow in, and within minutes the entire company disappeared into the fog, emerging from the marquee when it became pointless to remain there, in fits of laughter and coughing. The bubble machine was more successful, especially when paired with the smoke machine to produce smoke-filled bubbles.
Stop press: the ipod played perfectly fine with headphones and on my little base station, so I replaced the cassette device in the car that it was playing through, and all is well. Hooray!
[I can't get the image onto the blog without it rotating itself, so you'll have to rotate your head instead.]