Tia Maria and Orange Juice

The last weekend went by in blur. This is something that I have often been told is a sign of having had a good time, but it would still be nice to remember more of it. I know I became a Dutch Marquis, a Spanish Count, a French Baron and an English Count, I bombarded and plundered two cities and gave them to the Dutch – hence the heady promotion to Marquis – I captured a Spanish treasure galleon and looted all the gold and eliminated my way to 2nd in the list of most notorious pirates on the Spanish Main. Sadly, none of this happened in reality, but in a game I became addicted to over the weekend, which is why I haven’t buggered off to Las Vegas with all the gold I looted. More’s the pity.

In the real world, I spent the weekend in a house with a mix of hearing and deaf people to celebrate a friend’s 30th birthday. I wasn’t sure what to expect; from experience deaf / hearing parties have tended to end with the hearing on one side of the room and the deaf on the other. It’s nothing personal, just communication; after a while it gets too hard to focus on lipreading, and unfortunately large amounts of alcohol tend not to help with the focus. To my pleasant surprise though, they turned out to be a pretty chilled out, patient bunch who were happy to repeat things and some even picked up a few signs over the weekend. I ended up assigning a new sign name (roughly translated as *twisty hair*), and gaining a new nickname (Owl). I tried to teach some basic signs to a very drunk boyfriend of the birthday girl, but even though Rosie is a fluent signer, he scored a disappointing 1 out of 5 in the spot test. We’ll have to work on him, he’s keen but unco-ordinated.

What else do I recall? The cool-looking shipwreck on the beach, only timbers left now, heck knows how old it is, but it formed a natural pool while the tide was out, very pretty, and watching Rob clamber over it and waiting for the moment when he slipped and caused himself a near-fatal injury and we’d have to clamber in and get him. Thankfully it didn’t happen, and our jeans / thick coats / raincoats remained mud free. Raincoats and jeans on a beach in summer? When it’s August 2011 and there’s a stiff winter breeze coming off the far, far, far, (very far) distant sea, yes.

The others decided they wanted to go off and explore, i.e. they wanted to walk to the nearest tiny seaside town and have a look around. I decided to return to the house and further my career as an adventuring, swash-buckling pirate. After I’d caused some confusion by emptying the dishwasher and tidying away the clean dishes and putting dirty ones in and (I thought) switching it back on and wandering off. Apparently, switching on the dishwasher is more involved than that, so the others returned and scratched their heads over how the clean dishes had become dirty dishes again, and by that point I was somewhere in Havana trading sugar so I was unable to help with the mystery. Now you know, guys.

The restaurant was lovely, and the creamy garlic mushrooms were to die for. Or, more practically, to google the recipe for. I have got to learn how to make that. The raspberry pavlova (the little I managed to stuff in) was gorgeous and there were nice birthday touches everywhere. A good time had by all, though I did consider giving the chef a gift of my own – a steak timer.

And for the record, yes I did try the Tia Maria and Orange Juice that Rosie insisted was delicious; it tasted like a weird, liquid, alcoholic Terry’s chocolate orange gone wrong. The part of my brain that likes Terry’s choc orange sort of liked it, but the part of my brain that knew what was in it rebelled. I can explain Virtue Theory to a layman, but I couldn’t get my head around putting Tia Maria in orange juice. I got own back though, I got her to try my own favourite cocktail; Dr Pepper and Malibu. Delicious. Or if her reaction was anything to go by, so disgusting she needed another glass of wine to get over it. Different folks, different strokes and all that.

Saturday night was quite a party, but Sunday was an altogether more sedate affair. After the late morning clear-up (do you know how many cans had at least a quarter of beer still left in them? Just remember where you’ve put your drinks down guys, then you won’t assume the empty can you just picked up and shook is yours and go off and get another one…) and a respectful period while everyone recovered, some of the group headed off to Cheddar gorge to walk around and take in the sights. I bombarded Villa Hermosa and made off with more trade goods than I could actually fit in my cargo holds.

At this point I should probably thank Bruce for the lift and the generous loans of the iPad (on which the game was based; steering ships by stroking a screen, genius) and the lovely, cuddly, strokable James for not fighting me over it and settling for checking his facebook on Bruce’s iPhone. Love you guys!

The others had a wonderful time climbing up steep inclines and taking in the majestic views; my feet tingled at the thought. And not in a good way. Some very pretty pictures though, which I look forward to seeing on facebook.

The BBQ was delicious – I chomped on a chewy minty lamb steak and a big caramelised sweetcorn cob – tough, bitsy food that has been cut out of the family diet in recent months thanks to my father’s ongoing issues that the hospital haven’t nailed down yet. Modern medicine, my foot.

I was amused that on Sunday night, most people had retired by midnight, with tea and biscuits. At midnight the night before, the party had just been hitting its stride. For my part, I was asleep by 1, idly wondering if I had any Malibu left…

By Monday morning, all attempts at deep thinking and quick wit had ceased, thoughts seemed to take a while to reach destinations, and my liver was sending urgent status reports. We got the house cleaned up, and I hope whoever comes to empty the recycling doesn’t judge us too harshly. There were 17 people, after all.

All in all, it was a pretty good weekend, chatting with lots of new people, though unfortunately not always remembering their names, consuming large amounts of alcohol and eating whatever I liked, and I hope everyone had just as good, if not better, a time. All together now: happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthdaaaaaaaaaaaaaay dear Rosieeeeeeeeeeeee, happy birthday to you! I hope you remembered to rescue your gift from the fridge before the raids began on Monday morning 🙂

On a side note, the cats arrive today! They will be picked up this evening and hopefully introductions will be smooth, though I still have visions of the kitten making a beeline for the nearest power socket / dangling wire / tiny gap / bear trap. Well, maybe not the last one. Here’s hoping all goes well!

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