Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Tadpole Heaven

We've had a busy weekend. In a moment of madness after Christmas when I was feeling fed up as my side of the family hadn't managed a get together, I decided that we should invite everyone over at Easter instead.

Now in normal families this is probably an immensely obvious and practical thing to do. But my family isn't your average sized family. In fact it is rather large. And between us we all have rather a lot of children. So planning a family meet is rather like a military operation.

However given that I am in the very fortunate position of getting on with everyone of my siblings AND their partners, and all the children adore their cousins, military operation notswithstanding meeting up is always a joyous pleasure (if a rather madly frantic one).

Luckily, Spouse and I have many years of experience of hosting large numbers as we have been putting on parties for his side of the family ever since we moved here.

Simplicity, I find is key.

We had to feed 12 grown ups and 15 children (there was a baby too but his parents provided for him), who were all arriving at different times. So we did a buffet lunch. Spouse decided he had to make waldorf salad which we've never done before, but that was the only complication. We ended up making far too much, so we'll be eating it all week...

For the evening I decided to do a roast for the grown ups. The children had been communicating via email and decided that they wanted a film evening with snacks. So no 1 promised she'd take charge of that and organised an incredibly healthy menu of pizza, hot dogs, beefburgers and popcorn. She did the popcorn, and half the pizza base but playing with her cousins was irresistible, so we, er did the rest...

Puddings I had (in best Blue Peter tradition) made earlier: raspberry fool, redcurrant cheesecake and apple tart. All I'm pleased to say made with fruit from the garden.

There was a lot of running about, and I didn't sit down all that much, but it was well worth it to spend a sunny afternoon sitting in the garden with my siblings.

And the children had a ball...

Most of the afternoon was spent picking out the tadpoles from the pond in buckets and counting them. We have 125 apparently. Well I use the word "have" advisedly. We probably had 125, but I'm not quite sure how many of them have survived their little holiday to the bottom of the garden in the wheelbarrow. And if they thought they were tadpoles, apparently, they were mistaken. Because in actual fact they were zoyburgs (I have no idea if I've spelt that right, or even what zoyburgs are, but no 1 assures me they're something to do with Futurama).

I have visions of these poor little tadpoles up in tadpole heaven saying to one another, Cor that was a big tsunami that got us, or how did you cop it? I fell off the edge of the earth, me...

The ones that are left are probably suffering from post traumatic stress disorder and will probably now start the savage process of eating one another (ain't Mother Nature a peach?) which is infinitely preferable to death by a thousand handlings.

Once the tadpoles had been mauled to death, as it was a sunny day the next thing to do (obviously) was to have a water fight. Everyone ended up completely soaked before deciding enough was enough and they went back to tadpole tormenting again. Apart from no 2 and her favourite (and spookily doppleganger like) cousin who set up a Down With School Campaign and went marching about with placards tied to barbie dolls' legs, which I found the next day planted in with my pansies. Which was clearly the right place for them...

The feeding of the five thousand took place (thankfully) in the garden, and I have never seen hotdogs disappear so fast. By now they were all whacked out enough to sit quietly through a film while the grown ups managed a civilized dinner.

The younger contingent didn't even put too much of a fight up when it came to bed...

Not everyone stayed the night, but we did put up five grown ups and ten extra children, somehow. I feel as though my home has just mutated into the tardis....

And we survived.

But somehow, I don't rate the tadpoles chances very high...


For my fabulous family. Thanks for a smashing day. Oh... and sorry about blogging about you...

3 comments:

Zinnia Cyclamen said...

What a great Easter. Mine was good too, with lots of visitors, so we have also been suffering from exhaustion and leftovers!

Sue said...

What a lovely image you conjured up.

It sounds like it was hard work but also a wonderful event.

Reminds me of The Waltons. :-)

Sue x

Jane Henry said...

Zinnia it was great, if rather exhausting

And Sue... my family is a lot more fun then the Waltons, but funnily enough I have compared them to the W's in the acknowledgements to my book!