Before the barbecue

A few months ago, Chris had a vision of a deck at the back of the garden. This was largely conceived as a *simple* way to cover up all the rubble, broken glass and oil drum fire debris left behind by previous homeowners that used to constitute the end third of the garden. Without ever having done it before, he placed a ceremonial pencil behind his ear and started saying things like “4 bee 2” like a pro, and lo and behold, a deck took shape.

It is awesome and since its completion we have eaten almost every meal on it, so it seemed sensible to invite some other people over to partake of a burnt delicacy or two. Thus, Sausagefest 2016 was created:

Facebook event: Sausagefest 2016, 24th July

Chris built some decking! Come and join us to spill condiments on it. Bring your small children and some sausages/burgers/whatever and we will do our best not to mix them up.

I went about happily inviting anyone with similarly aged children who might enjoy a spot of Duplo on the lawn as much as our two do, not really expecting many of them to be available on the first weekend of the summer holidays. But they were. I realised as the date drew nigh we were expecting 20 adults and 12 children to share our suite of 4 director’s chairs. And what if it rains?!

The day before the barbecue we awoke, as usual, to the sound of Jet rummaging though a tray of Lego at about ten to six. We got up, had some breakfast and got the eff on with it. By 9.30am, we had cleared up the kitchen, Chris marinated some chicken, we cleared up the kitchen again, and Chris had re-arranged the garden whilst I had been into Enfield to procure all the things we had forgotten to buy yesterday when we had done the weekly shop.


When I got back from town I gave the climbing frame a clean up. It has been housed lovingly/dumped under a load of trees in a distant corner, where it had become home to some pretty impressive arachnids. Some were just normal “I can handle this” sort of guys. Others were of the size and shape that make you go all twitchy and imagine the worst should anything tickle the back of your leg. I bravely brushed away the ordinary fellas and pointed out the extraordinary to Jet, keen not to show my true feeling on the subject.

“Go and tell Daddy to come and see these amazing spiders!” I said to him, hiding my disgust with a mask of awe, then convulsing as a blade of grass touched my foot. Chris came and rehomed one very rotund-bottomed beetly-looking dude and another that I had nicknamed The Ginorminator. He went back indoors to carry on sorting his work stuff out, when another mahoosive beast crept out of a plastic crevice and unfolded itself into monstrous proportions. Armed with a hose, I blasted it into a flowerbed and felt very proud of myself for not showing my fear to the children.


The cold sweat and palpitations subsided eventually and I refilled the sandpit to distract the children from trying to ‘help’ me with my long list of jobs, which didn’t work at all. We replanted my hanging baskets with the fuschia, dianthus and marguerites I had picked up at the market. These plants were pretty unsuitable for hanging baskets, but I figured they couldn’t look any worse than the overwatered pansies they replaced. Brown and crispy was not a good look for a hanging basket.

Preparation had begun months ago on making the flowerbed on the left hand side pretty enough to distract onlookers from the fact the fence (not ours 😡 ) has disintegrated. The shrubs and perennials I planted now look well established, and the seeds have blossomed to fill the spaces in between. Another year’s growth, and no one will even be able to see the fence, or lack of it. 😡 And for now it will suffice as an effective barrier between the smaller, rowdier of our guests and the quiet, lovely neighbours who, as tenants, are in no way responsible for the rubbishness of the actual fence. 😡 (This fence thing really doesn’t bother me at all, indeed I hardly give it any thought whatsoever, as you can probably tell)


The kids had long since abandoned their clothes when I tidied up the dinosaur garden for the umpteenth time today, sending the dinos on a summer holiday to the sandpit where they were provided with an imaginative inner monologue by Jet, to be replaced by our pathetic collection of safari animals. The kids amused themselves by calling the lion, zebra, hippo, tiger, gorilla and a passing pebble “sheep” and laughing their heads off – okay then – and it was time to cover up the sandpit for the night whilst they were distracted. I put a brightly coloured oilcloth over it, and Stella came running, saying, “Oh! A birthday present for Jet!” then sang him happy birthday, which was sweet but about 6 months belated.

Nothing is as cuddly as a rigid sandpit full of dinosaurs under a plastic tablecloth. Apparently.

Two exhausted, sweaty and sand-encrusted children were bathed and put to bed after a hard day’s untidying up, and an equally filthy and knackered mummy has carried on the clearout by emptying two tins of beer that have been lurking in the cupboard for some weeks.

We’ve all done our bit – bring on the Sausagefest!

Desperate to know how it went? Want to actually see the deck (which I forgot to include any photos of)? Click here to read all about it!

Rhyming with Wine
This Mum’s Life

Mudpie Fridays
Best of Worst
Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

38 thoughts on “Before the barbecue

  1. Your invitation is brilliant! I’m also highly impressed by your handling of the hairy 8 legged beasts! I am petrified of the things, but like you, I’m trying not to let it show to the tots. (Not because I don’t want them to associate spiders with fear or anything sensible like that – just because my two smell fear and will find it highly amusing to catch them and put them in my pockets if they know that it will make me scream!) We did a “Mini beast nature hunt” today. One was found. I might possibly have squeaked a bit and jumped backwards into the other mums who then tutted at my apparent lack of spider stamina in front of the small people. I’m definitely taking a hosepipe next time! Hope the BBQ went well – looking forward to reading about it. Thanks for linking up hon x #fartglitter

    Liked by 1 person

  2. But there’s no photos of the decking!!!!! I couldn’t wait to see this handiwork!! I loved your description of the spiders, and you hid your fear of them very well! My children are now both very much aware that I’m terrified of them, due to the pointing/screaming/peeing my pants that I’ve been totally unable to hide the exact second I see/suspect a spider!! The same goes for wasps/bees/moths/woodlice… Eeeeek, my poor children don’t stand a chance!! Well, you did some pretty good preparation for sausage fest, even unaided and unabbetted by the children…! I hope it was a huge success!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know – fail! It’s been so long since I published anything I just wanted to get it out there before I had the chance to take any more photos – watch this space for a follow up and you can have a butcher’s at the awesomeness 🙂
      I’m sure my two have seen right through my thin veneer of calm and know just how scary I find spiders too, but I’ve done my best 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. LOVE this post, haha!! This is like what myself and hubby would be like….am totally off to read part 2. Thanks for linking up to the #bestandworst hopefully sausage part went off with a bang…..pardon the pun.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oo yes – I want to know how it went, thats a lot of people! Your post reminds me of every time we have folk round – an opportunity to properly clean up! I’d like to think I keep on top of the housework but that is mainly because we entertain a lot 😉 And when the mother in law comes to stay, well…. #KCACOLS

    Liked by 1 person

  5. We had a bbq last week, there were 10 adults and 7 children. Safe to say I was exhausted never mind the kids. Unlike you though I didn’t prep so I was in a mad rush all day, and it was boiling hot. Definitely gave me a good giggle reading this post #kcakols

    Liked by 1 person

  6. My skin is crawling just thinking about those spiders. I saw one in the bathroom the other day – I swear it had fangs. Just had to leave and hope it would make its own way out #KCACOLS

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Ha I loved your invite, no wonder everyone wanted to come! What a day getting everything ready, I love hosting BBQs at our but boy they can be hard work at times. I’m off to go look st the decking – I am very jealous you have a partner able to build blooming decking! Thanks for linking up at #KCACOLS. Hope you can come back again next Sunday.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I got some easy seeds, which have filled the bed up nicely with the californian poppies and the purple and white things. Truthfully, there were four varieties of seeds, but only two of them have grown! Luckily they look very pretty so I haven’t missed the other two! x

      Liked by 1 person

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