The Island Atelier

Now we are 18

We are partied out. One Saturday O had his 18th party for his friends and the next we had the adults and family party.

‘They will all behave.’ Such was O’s assurance. As he has since pointed out, he did not specify the behaviour. Being beholden to the rural bus service, the party brigade descended at 6.15pm so that’s when the party began.

‘Where are the sick buckets?’ one insightful female asked.

By 8 o’clock T, normally sensible, had his head in the first bucket. By 8.15 his head was in the second bucket. His father collected him, along with the third bucket, at 9pm after which point T worked his way through multiple buckets. Not surprising as he’d consumed 450ml neat whisky followed by 125ml of 75% proof neat rum in an hour. T was undeservedly fine but appropriately contrite the next day. He brought me a new bucket and a big flower.

The party partied on. Six of the party partied on a sofa: dancing of the high energy, high jumping, high impact type of dancing which danced its way through the sofa. My intermittent inspection was perfectly timed to watch them crash through the sofa and – to their surprise - hit the floor. Thank god for IKEA sofas that cost less than a case of bubbly. The look of shock on the faces of the fallen was worth the cost of the sofa.

By 2am the house was a tip. Inspection mandated denial and bed. At 9am I emerged. Doubtful and dreading. To be amazed at the sight of 11 teenagers with bin bags and scrubbing brushes cleaning up. With every chemical & cloth that they could find they were avidly banishing vomit and broken glass and dead party. Two girls were in control, issuing forthright instructions in more than forthright terms to ‘inept boys’. ‘IF you carry the rug like that, all the bits will go everywhere…’ The boys were despatched down the garden to scrub and disinfect the rug. They were made to strip down and bag up the broken sofa. By early afternoon no one would ever have guessed that any party had happened. O’s friends are a joy.

O’s birthday was midweek. His godmother came to stay. The sun shone so we walked (while O went to school). 12 miles on day one and 17 miles on day two. Day two was a miscalculation; two miles escaped the mental map … and hurt. We ate steak and drank ridiculously good red wine. I am no longer responsible for any human being apart from me. A very strange state that takes a great deal of great wine to assimilate.

The great wine having been consumed, the adults had to drink inferior wine accompanied by inferior canapés. The canapé production schedule was cut short by the early arrival of one party of guests. So we had downsized canapés. So O & I were forced to live on caviar and quails’ eggs for the next week. A tough life!

Now it’s back to the normal world and flatpack paradise. The new IKEA sofa arrived. It’s the new Chinese IKEA. Three legs fit and one does not.