After our 5th Birthday Boat Party - 29 August 2010
Wow - what a night - what a party. When the invitation was received there was an initial intake of breath followed by 'can I afford to go?' Closely followed by 'can I afford NOT to go. Having got that decision sorted the next step was to research the 1920's costume - thank goodness for the website, many happy hours spent trolling through a wealth of fascinating information about the era including some rather detailed videos on make-up! ...
Then the process of sourcing suitable clothing though ones own ancient wardrobe and that of various friends and family. Help was on hand from a member of the mixed choir who had a variety of bits and bobs - finally it all came together and from head to toe one was suitably attired as a generously proportioned 1920's matron (didn't think I would get away with the short fringed skirt.)
The date arrived and we organised ourselves to be at Cobham by the allotted time - in fact much earlier as we didn't want to risk missing the bus. Fascinating to see how everyone interpreted the dress code and very few braved coming in 'normal' clothes. Once again reminded what a friendly and helpful club this is - birthday cakes arriving in the nick of time and lots of support for the brave lady who brought her husband with his wheel chair both of which were cheerfully manhandled into the bus.
Amazing journey through to London seeing all the impressive new buildings going up everywhere - used to know this area spending my childhood in Wandsworth - at least the college was still there. Up at the Wheel on the embankment we were a great source of interest to the London tourists and after a breezy queue on the pier in came the Erasmus and we were allowed on board.
What a sight met our eyes - after we had been accosted and asked to state the passwords which we had been handed on the bus - we managed to get past the bouncers and then were faced with Cliff in his gangster outfit and his 'moll' even more amazing and wielding a camera. Having bagged a table for our party beautifully laid with white damask cloths, sparkling glasses of champagne with pretty table centres in silver, white and black and cards with the Elmbridge Music 5th emblem, we were then encouraged upstairs to where the live band was playing and quickly became involved an a frantic Charleston dance. I then managed to get myself on to the pointed end outside and was able to listen to the excellent travelogue giving bits of information about the waterfront and buildings as we passed. As the sun set we made our way downstairs to collect our meal from the hot or cold buffet and proceeded to eat at the table as we continued our way up and down the river which was by now showing all its lights.
Then it was time to make our way back upstairs again where Cliff was serenaded by both the mixed and ladies choir members with a specially written 'Tribute to Cliff' to the music of One Candle (a tune known to the mixed choir and rapidly picked up by the rest of us) Cliff when he had recovered from the emotion of the moment went on to thank everyone concerned both in running the club and for organising the evening, lots of presents for everyone and then the cake was cut and we filed down below once again to puddings and cake.
Meanwhile the wine flowed, the dancing continued above our heads with the ceiling bouncing up and down(!) and a chance to chat to all the others and take photographs and to read the slang dictionary which was on every table a hilarious opportunity to try out the phrases on our friends. 11.pm came much too soon and it was time to tie up again and stagger off to our bus - what a ravaged party we had become by now. Looking back so many people had put so much into making this a truly wonderful and definitely memorable evening.
The hinky big cheese with his chippy chick and the rest of the bindle stiffs lammed off from the speakeasy and took a powder narrowly avoiding getting zotzed by the torpedoes. Ya follow????.
Stella the Squawk (I didn't snitch to the fuzz)