To celebrate the surprisingly persistent hot weather that has invaded Paris this Summer (in the sense that in July & August the weather is generally changing and can become unexpectedly rainy and cold at any moment), I decided to throw a big “Ancient Rome” themed party in my grandmother’s old country house.
For years I have thought about putting into some use our old, but spacious, family house : it is big mansion located at 43 miles (70km) from Paris, surrounded by a garden, fields and forests, wich makes it perfect to spend some quality time on week-ends, reading in the sun, playing outside games or have long walks to the close farms or ponds. In addition, it is also perfect for partying: distant neighbors, a perfect BBQ spot and many beds to accommodate the guests.
The only (but major) problem is, the dust. I am very allergic to dust and unfortunately it is a common trait in my family. Hence, going there just for a day or two involves a lot of vacuuming, cleaning, etc for just a few hours of enjoyment. As any old house it is also very cold, being made of big walls that keep the humidity in while preventing the outside warmth from entering. I personally tend to go there only when the weather is extremely hot and I am sure I will be spending most of the day outside the house! So, because this year the temperatures were extremely high and seem to hold on, I thought it was now or never (I have actually been talking about it for several years).
However, again, the specific day the BBQ was supposed to be, temperature dropped 8°C and it rained several times. It was to be expected after all, but as I was screaming all around the house at 8am on Saturday Morning alarmed by the sound of the unwanted rain, my friends, who had come with me the night before to help me prepare the house and to buy some groceries, shut me up mumbling from under the pillows that even if nobody else came, we had food and activities for the whole week-end if needed. Fortunately, it did not come to that, nor did the weather ruin the fun!
As we never throw this kind of parties before, we tried to get the schedule and the activities covered as early as possible: the 20 someting guests would arrive on Saturday afternoon for the first barbecue, there would be food and beverages for all afternoon aswell as many outdoor games: badminton, twister, Pictionary (apparently 30yo are not necessarily better at drawing than 3yo children), poker, Boxing & Mario Kart on Wii and Dancing on Xbox.
Later, after the young parents and their kids had left for the evening, the remaining crew scattered to get dressed up! Unexpectedly the result was amazing and while we were quite exhausted by the day activities, it was so hilarious to take picture that we spent more than an hour taking ridiculous poses.
Someone once said to me that it is important to mark your life with big events (weddings, parties, travels abroad, family and friends gatherings,etc…) as they will act as landmarks throughout your life. Although I might have just described a regular week-end with friends, organising this moment was particularly important for me. It was the perfect occasion to gather most of the people I love, which gets more and more difficult as the years pass: people get married, have busy jobs or small children who exhaust them and take a lot of their free time. Managing to bring everyone together once a year, and for more than a few drinks, is something that I value in friendships and that I added to my life objectives.
By the way, if someone has some good ideas for the next theme party, bring them on!