Party Time

Every now and again there’s a reason to celebrate, to come together, eat, drink, tell stories, sing a few songs, have the craic…to have a party.

Our new grandson is having his Naming Ceremony next Saturday.  We’ll all go to the Unitarian Church in St.Stephen’s Green and after a ceremony crafted by his parents with Rev. Bridget Spain, we’ll come back home to ours for food and drink and hopefully, craic and ceol.

House parties are becoming more common again, now that the Celtic Tiger is but a memory.  They’re a lot of work, but SO worthwhile. Alice Taylor’s story about the Station in “To School through the Fields” gives a magical  sense of Irish home entertaining on a grand scale.

It begins with the walkabout. I walked around my house with the eye of the visitor.  All I could see was chaos….jobs I had put on the long finger, stuff piled up on a bed in the spare room that should have been dealt with months ago.  Things that need to be sorted, clothes needing a small repair, documents to be filed, a freezer crying out for defrosting.

In the hall sits a bag of clothes borrowed by the Leaving Cert student. As she tore out the door on Monday she yelled back that someone would be collecting them.



Would anybody notice if I took these to the recycling centre along with the rest of it?

And as for paint jobs…..let’s say, it’s been a while. The first brushstroke of fresh paint to hit a wall here will shame the rest of the house into complete repainting. But that will wait.

Right now I’m on a countdown to Saturday when we’ll have about forty people here. Motivation is a great thing….I’ve done all the decluttering jobs that had piled up.  The men in the recycling centre at the Five Lamps know me well by now.

House cleaned- tick.

Tableware and serving dishes organised- tick.

Drink ordered- tick.

My  eldest daughter and her mother-in-law are cooking some dishes for the buffet and will deliver them here on Saturday morning.  Casseroles  already frozen will be thawed and their seasoning adjusted on the day.  My husband and I will have our traditional fight about space in the fridge. I clear it out, knowing in my own mind how and where I’m going to store all the food for the buffet.  The minute my back is turned, he fills all the space with bottles. The dialogue/pitched battle that ensues is always the same old ding-dong.  The dog could write the script at this stage.

My second daughter and her fiancé arrive from London tonight, and my son arrives tomorrow evening.

Lemon Sponge for Iced Lemon Curd Layer Cake

Last night I made the cake ( doubled the recipe)…An occasion requires a cake as a centrepiece and my daughter has requested  Delia Smith’s Iced Lemon Curd Layer Cake.

Joint of smoked gammon steeping in water

A joint of smoked gammon has already been soaking for over 24 hours, to be simmered in cider and glazed as in Móna Wise’s recipe for Holiday Ham.  Tomorrow I’ll stud it with cloves glaze it, and make a pineapple salsa  to complement it.  Yin and yang, you know.

Irish Salmon

This morning I’ll go to the fishmonger to buy a side of salmon and ask him to skin and pinbone it.  I’ll cut this into darnes myself, marinade them overnight and grill them.

There’s some food and other shopping to be done too.  Barry’s Balloons will have all sorts of baby paraphernalia.  Flowers must be arranged today.

I’m watching the weather forecast like a hawk. The closer you get to the day, the more accurate the forecast. We’re two days out now, and apart from watching for an opportunity to mow the lawn, it would be lovely to eat al fresco in our small south west facing suburban garden.  MetÉireann is giving a northwesterly breeze with a temperature of 15°C and a likelihood of <1 mm of rain on its 5 day Irish forecast.  Windguru gives something similar with stronger gusts, a 71% likelihood of cloud cover and 3.2 mm of rain for the same period.  So we’ll probably end up with a cool showery day with people running in and out of the garden as they please.  Well, it is Ireland after all…..” Grand, soft day……”

But all that is detail. What matters is that we have a new life  bringing us all together to welcome him into our lives, our families, our community and to contemplate the wonder of it all.

Céad Míle Fáilte romhat.

About haysparks

Viewing the world, the human condition, our history, evolution and health through the prism of food.
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2 Responses to Party Time

  1. Balbriggan Allotments says:

    Enjoy the naming ceremony & the celebration. Family events happen in our house on a similar scale. They are great fun, the stuff of legends. Welcome to your new Grandson!

    • haysparks says:

      Thanks Caitíona. When the ceremony is dignified, the speeches are short and appropriate, the good wishes are abundant and the celebrations exuberant, the baby is truly welcomed into the community of his family and friends. We had a great time!

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