Saturday, 16 June 2012

The Thomas/Godfrey Farewell Party...

Today was the last full day for the Thomas/Godfrey party and I had, somewhat recklessly, invited them all, together with Mum, Dad, Aunty Joyce and Uncle David for a meal at ours.  Catering for 13 and all relatively healthy eaters!  I hadn't really even considered where or how I was going to seat them all!  I was also worried that I wouldn't have enough to eat - anyone who knows me knows that undercatering doesn't appear on our radar.

We managed to get enough seats in the conservatory but it was a tight squeeze and with temperatures soaring it was going to be a hot one!  We had to have all the windows open and the sliding doors to try and get some air passing through.

Minnie Mou found the whole experience just too boring and took to her bed with a fit of the vapours!  She likes the cool in there and we are happy that she stays in there because we know where she is unlike Chivers who disappears all day.

The Big Four from Emba arrived early and we had a pleasant hour or so sitting out under the gazebo where there was a cooling breeze blowing off the field.  We then took it in turn to run a sweepstake as to what time the other visitors would arrive!  I had decided that we would go for salad and dips as a starter - two reasons for this - one, if there wasn't quite enough food then it would fill them up and two, it wouldn't take too much to get it out and on the table.  John was in charge of the bar and had been down to the village to purchase bags of ice - we are so limited for space with only a small fridge - so we wanted to get our big plastic box filled up as a temporary cooler.

So our first course was pitta bread and greek salad with green olives stuffed with almonds, green olives in lemon and coriander, houmous, tahini, tzatziki, taramasalata and aubergine dip - seemed to go down well although we will probably be eating up the dips for days now!

Second course was Stifado with rice and peas - my Stifado recipe will be posted on the food page as it is now quite legendary and comes from my ancient Cypriot Recipe book Kopiaste - and Moroccan Chicken with preserved lemons served with jewelled rice (rice with apricots and nuts and spices).  It is so lovely to cook for people who like food and like to eat.  I heard Dad say that the chicken was very tender and Uncle David praising the Stifado - but then I was sat opposite them!  (seen below later in the evening when we were playing the Present Game).

I need not have worried about the amount of food because I probably could have invited another half a dozen although they wouldn't have had anywhere to sit!!!  At the end of the evening I was able to pack some up for Mum to take back to Emba and put in her freezer.

Our final course was a platter of fresh fruit - well three to be exact - with cherries, apricots, peaches, kiwi, banana, fig, water melon, honeydew melon and plums, it is a good time of the year here to get lovely fruit. 

So meal over we played the Parcel Game - each of us had bought a gift for €5 - something that someone would love or hate - and wrapped it in a magazine so that it would be difficult to recognise who had bought what.  We then had to roll a dice and if we rolled a six could choose a parcel, if we rolled a subsequent six we had to swap the parcel we had chosen with someone else or if no-one else had one with one from the pile.  This continued until everyone had rolled a six and had a parcel and then there was a frantic ten minutes of rolling and swapping until the time was up and we were all left with a parcel whether it was the one we wanted or not!

No matter how hard they tried neither John nor Kaye seemed able to roll a six and in the end we just let Kaye keep rolling until she managed to get one and then John was given the last parcel by default - I reckon he could have rolled all night and still not got one!  Then followed the frantic roll roll roll and swap swap swap.  Two parcels in particular seemed to command a lot of attention - one which looked like it might have been a Christmas pudding that had been wrapped up and another which was soft and slim.  These two exchanged hands numerous times and in the end I wrestled the Christmas pudding shaped one from the hands of my niece Elena.

Smurfs seemed to be a very popular choice - this probably has something to do with the fact the Colin is a Hartlepool supporter and apparently the 'Monkey Hangers' all dressed up as Smurfs for games last season.  In fact Colin bears an uncanny resemblance to the Smurf which he purchased as his parcel gift and which was ultimately won by his daughter Rosie.  Mum also received a Smurf but a much cuter looking one without the glasses.  The Christmas pudding shaped gift turned out to be five vanilla scented candles which are very welcome in our household and Elena's ultimate parcel contained candles too so she was pleased.

My sister ended up with my parcel - those of you who have ever received a secret santa parcel from me when I was at Porter Dodson would have known it was from me straight away because it contained a bath pillow, scented drawer hearts, foot scrub, bubble bath and body lotion - no chocolate because it would have melted.  This was always my favourite secret santa buy from the pound shop in Yeovil - a bath treat kit and with the Euro shop over here I could get all of this for my €5.00!  John was horrified by this photograph - Kaye's glass is empty!!

We eventually said our farewells knowing that tomorrow we would be seeing them just before they left for the airport - two weeks done and dusted!

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