Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Life lessons

Wookee and I spend most of this last weekend at a friend’s house. T is an old friend of Wookees from when they were both kiddies and J is his wife (who also went to the same school as T and Wookee but in the year below). T & J have birthdays very close together and so they have a joint birthday barbecue around this time every year.

Despite having one of the smallest houses and backyards known to man, they invite around 40 people to this event. Fortunately they don’t all show up at the same time but it can still get a little crowded around early evening.

We usually go for the whole weekend, staying over on Saturday and Sunday nights and taking Monday off work as the party is always scheduled for the Sunday night. Every year they have done this the weather has been fine (which for the UK is somewhat of a miracle). This year it righteously pissed it down on Saturday, but come Sunday all was well and apart from a little spitting mid-afternoon the skies stayed clear.

When Wookee and T get together the pair of them revert to being 12 again and this weekend was no exception. Add in the mix of alcohol, a barbecue, many foodstuffs to be flambéed and lots of other flammable items and things get more than a little interesting.

Things I have learned this weekend:

1. If you do not normally drink much, downing one and a half bottles of wine in the space of two hours is not really a good idea.

2. Going to have a nap immediately after downing said wine without first drinking some water, really isn’t a good idea.

3. Doing 1 and 2 pretty much guarantees you will wake up with a headache.

4. Any man within a 50-ft radius of any kind of fire will somehow find a stick and proceed to poke the fire with it under the (incorrect) impression that this will make him appear more manly.

5. Loading up a barbecue with self-lighting charcoal, firelighter blocks, lighter fluid and lighter gel is a sure fire (ha!) way to ensure that your BBQ WILL LIGHT!

6. When lighting a BBQ that has been prepared in the manner of 5. Be sure to stand well back if you wish to have a continuing relationship with your eyebrows.

7. When given access to one of these and many of these, even the most sensible of men will transform into a raving pyromaniac.

8. When in the situation described in 7, be sure to provide your men with many items that require burning, otherwise they will go foraging for themselves.

9. Paper plates, when put into an open fire, will at first glow and then combust with a ‘poof’ sound.

10. Drunken men will find this hilarious and repeat the experiment until all the paper plates in the vicinity have been cremated.

11. Scrumpled up sheets of kitchen roll will occasionally combust with a ‘poof’ sound and the rest of the time they will simply start to burn very unceremoniously.

12. Drunken men will find this intriguing and will use up an entire roll trying to discover if the tightness of the scrumpling or the position in the fire has any effect on whether or not a ‘poof’ is achieved.

13. Jelly babies, when put into an open fire, transform into an oozing, bubbling mass reminiscent of the big alien creature at the end of Evolution.

14. Drunken men will find this fascinating and proceed to formulate an experiment wherein they try to discover which colour of jelly baby produces the most alien looking mass and if the colour of the jelly baby has any effect on the colour of the flames produced on the odd occasion that it actually busts into flames.

15. No matter how many times you say ‘Please do NOT go to sleep on your back’, your (totally sozzled) man will proceed to fall asleep ON HIS BACK and make noises that would frighten the creatures from Alien into quitting the alien business and going off somewhere quiet for a little lie down to contemplate a future career as something cute and fluffy.

Ah well. It’s only once a year.