Making memories…….

Expect the Unexpected!

This doesn’t happen often in my life, but occasionally you think you have the day pretty much mapped out and then it all veers off in a totally different direction.  That ‘different’ direction can be one that throws you all out of kilter and leaves you feeling frustrated that you haven’t done all the things you planned to do, which is a pain.  Other times, however, it takes you in the most wonderful and unusual direction that may prevent you doing what you planned to do but is so fantastic that you just know you have to go with it and let it happen….because it’s going to be magical.

THE best bonfire party with THE best people!!  Well done Todd and Pippa!!!

Yesterday was one of those days.  Lucy, the producer of the film we’re making was coming up to see us all to discuss how we move forward with the film and have a brain storming session with us all about ideas.  We’re starting to film again in earnest in the next couple of weeks so we needed to make some decisions about what, where and when.

Lucy has become one of the family over the last year so her visit was greatly anticipated, but an hour before she arrived Todd dropped Pippa off as she’d been staying with them for a couple of nights.  His 2 minute drop off turned onto about 14 hours!  Let me explain.

We regard Todd and Jo as being part of our family just like Lucy, therefore, I wanted them to meet so invited Todd to stay for a cup of tea until she arrived.  He did, which was fantastic and joined in our meeting about the film.  Lucy had then arranged to take us for lunch, including any boyfriends present and Todd rang Jo and they duly joined us all as well.

This made for a huge party but a fantastic time was had by all and the day was becoming one of those ‘never to be forgotten’ days.  Lucy left as she had things to do and is currently filming a documentary for the BBC but left a very happy band of people sitting at the table.  What to do next?  We debated whether to have another drink there or whether to retire to the ‘Shanks Garden’. The Shanks Garden won.

Beer and drinks gathered from the local supermarket and a couple of errands run by me and we all congregated in the garden basking in the sunshine.  Basketball competitions run by Todd were the order of the day as well as 6 dogs chasing around the garden enjoying their freedom and playing with each other and loving every minute of it.  The whole thing was the usual Shanks chaos but with everyone having a great time.

Suddenly someone decided that the settee sitting outside the front door should be put in place and furniture removals by those with the higher testosterone levels abounded as old TV’s were discarded, settees placed where they should be and miscellaneous furniture moved around Kacie’s studio.  She was over the moon, everything was perfect and the men were happy.

We all adjourned to the garden again but Todd and Harry had got the ‘doing stuff’ bee in their bonnets and the next thing I knew everyone….and I mean everyone….was weeding the patio, clearing old pots, pulling up stinging nettles and generally attacking what I lovingly and somewhat loosely call, the garden!  

My wonderful guests had turned into workers and were attacking the huge task with an unprecedented amount of gusto.  Meanwhile, Pippa and Todd  had decided that we WOULD be having a bonfire later on and had commandeered every bit of cardboard, broken furniture and mouldy wood that had been stored in the stable block for more years than I care to remember and picked a spot to have it.  

The decision was made, and Todd having decided something was going to happen……it WAS going to happen… spite on any adverse weather conditions that may prevail and with Pippa backing him up with an equal amount of enthusiasm the rest of us had no say!  

The garden and patio were transformed in the space of a couple of hours with so many people working together in total harmony, it was a joy to behold and I can’t express my gratitude to everyone enough.  

Jamie decided the troops needed to be fed and rustled up some fabulous food for us all which we decided had to eaten outside in the newly beautified garden and we all happily settled down to eat, extension leads and appropriate lighting having been commandeered from the house.  The second we did the rain started!  Now, sometimes you have to make a decision about whether you’re going to fight the circumstances or embrace them.  We decided to embrace the rain and carried on regardless which just left the one little challenge of the bonfire.

Todd and Pippa had decided it was going to happen, so happen it would!  Before the rain became too heavy they both scuttled off to get it lit and chairs in hand, beer bin in place and marshmallows located we all headed off to sit next to it and enjoy.  Pippa and Todd (pyromaniacs in the making) had done an excellent job of building it and, in bonfire terms, it was a huge success.

We all sat around the fire with our faces burning as the rain poured down, I’d long since given up on the tricky task of trying to stay dry and was happy to just sit and get rained on along with everyone else.  It was a truly magical couple of hours, trying to toast marshmallows on the furnace (not easy!), chatting away about all kinds of random s**t and just genuinely enjoying each others company.

The old settee and chair were eventually consigned to the giant smoke cloud in the sky amidst lots of ‘oohs and aaaaahs’ at the ferocity of the flames and more sober reflections about how it illustrated perfectly how dangerous a fire in a house was but moods were still high.

I don’t remember the last time I laughed so much, nor do I remember a more relaxed and harmonious atmosphere.  It had been an amazing day and totally unexpected, also a full 14 hours after Todd originally arrived with Pippa! Having completely hijacked Todd and Jo’s day we all agreed it had been totally worth it and would be a day to remember forever.

Such times are few and far between but are the real essence of life.  Going with the flow and allowing things to evolve naturally between a group of people who love each other is the most precious of things.  I will remember yesterday for the rest of my life as being one of the finest and most important days in real terms.  Spending valuable, quality time with some of the most precious people in my life is priceless in spite of a couple not being there, but we did toast the absence of Lorie and Mirie, you were there in spirit my darlings!

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