Are you following the Olympics? It is the highlight of the year as far as my husband is concerned, and so we’ve been glued to the TV and radio, following the inevitable highs and lows and moments of glory and dashed hopes that characterise every single day in Rio. Lord knows what we’ll do next weekend when it’s all over. Olympic fever peaked four years ago when London actually hosted the Olympics and we got to experience it all at first hand; to celebrate we held an outdoor Alternative Olympiad party at home, and a new tradition was borne… so this weekend, we did it all again!
A wide range of friends were invited (grown-up friends; this was one party that was not aimed at kids..) and asked to come ready for a night of fun in Olympic costumes, national colours or simply clothes they could move freely in – and we began to prepare. Harry was allowed to stay up to light the olympic torch and officially open the evening’s event; he and I wore simple t-shirt and short combos, but used this easy cool-peel transfer paper to add an Olympic image to our outfits….
We scanned eBay for some olympic accessories and found wristbands and medals; each guest was given a different colour band on arrival to create mixed-up teams; a great way of getting everyone mingling and finding the other members of their team.
Dorothy, who lives in the bathroom downstairs, modelled some of the gear very fetchingly.
We strung bunting across the patio and lights in the trees, and set up pergolas in case of rain (this is England; there is always rain..). We positioned the Olympic cauldron (usually a stainless steel firepit; briefly repurposed) securely on a table ready to be lit in the evening, and posters around the garden signed the different events . Finally an olympic flag marked the entrance to the games.
We set out a long table of drinks for both the serious athletes and those more intent on having fun!
And then the guests began to arrive, looking wonderful in a series of steadily more impressive and outrageous costumes…
(including a WADA official, who looked highly corruptible)
The podium we made in 2012 for our first party has miraculously survived in the garden shed; far from stable, it nonetheless provided a fitting platform for posing.
Events included trampolining, where 2 members from each team were asked to work through a few simple moves remembered from childhood (the tuck jump, the star jump, and the seat drop), before busting out any personal sequences or flamboyant poses to attract additional points from the judges… and lawn volleyball, which roughly – very roughly – followed the rules of beach volleyball, though with the added hazards of the ball getting stuck in low hanging trees, or players attacked by the midges who felt all their Christmasses had come at once to find so many people available in the same place.
And then team relay races, including the Aquatic event, which required participants to don a large rubber ring, mask and snorkel and be wheel-barrowed by their partner along the race track to victory. It was as ridiculous and glorious as the picture below suggests..
Dinner was a BBQ between events, and then as darkness fell like a blanket we lit a fire pit and toasted marshmallows, and opened more wine.
You’ll notice the distinct absence of photos after 8pm; partly to protect the dignity and innocence of all involved, but mainly because life dictates that sometimes you just need to put the camera down and hurl yourself into the fray; far too much fun to be experienced from behind the lens
An audit of the garden on Sunday (with a rather sore head, I confess) generated an eclectic collection of lost parts of costumes, spectacles, shoes, flags and pom-poms;
a night to remember, and one we might just find the energy for again in 202o!
Have a great week, wherever you are and whatever you’re upto