Yesterday was a long and very busy day. We went to sleep at about 4am, and have only just woken up, which is why this blog is only just getting written.
Our day started with a drive to Finsbury Park where we found Little Michelle standing patiently under a railway bridge. It was a pre-arranged rendezvous, but, to passing motorists, it might have looked a bit dodgy in a vaguely curb-crawling sort of way!
We drove to Catford for an early craft and cake. It was a nice bunch, which included a young lad called Ben (everyone's called Ben these days) the son of one of Julie's childhood friends, who was knitting a hole-ridden scarf with circular needles. Kate Jarman was there as well, sporting her eight month-old pregnancy belly, which actually looked rather neat and tidy for someone so far into pregnancy. Tina had crocheted the baby a gorgeous blanket, which I think Kate was really touched by. When you get a gift like that, it must suddenly make everything seem very real. In one month's time, a little baby - MY little baby - will actually be lying on this...
Sam was doing origami! He made me a crane which is currently sitting rather proudly on our sitting room mantelpiece and a little boat (a sampan, I'm told) for Nathan. Julie got me and Michelle making pomanders out of oranges and cloves. I was instantly reminded of my Grannie who always had something fun going on for us kids when we turned up at her house. Peeling pickled onions, chopping pears, picking strawberries...
Funnily enough, when I arrived and found Julie digging cloves into the sides of an orange with the help of a knitting needle, something in the back of my mind immediately assumed she was making a christingle, but was I was instantly told that a christingle involves a candle, and, often, little sweeties. I'm pretty sure we didn't have sweeties attached to the christingles that we made at school, but then again, I thought they were an Easter thing. I've never really got my head around Christian customs! I enjoyed stuffing cloves into an orange though!
We left craft and cake with Tina and Michelle in the car and drove back up to North London, allowing ourselves a quick ten-minute shopping stop in Muswell Hill.
The later afternoon was spent prepping food, prepping giant scoreboards and prepping little flags for a sweepstake in readiness for our Eurovision party.
Ah! Eurovision: you never cease to surprise! The new voting system is ludicrously exciting... The jury votes come in bit-by-bit (usual style) and then, in a flash, all the tele-votes from viewers come in, and the leaderboard changes dramatically. The U.K. plummeted from about fifteenth to twenty third (which is what happens to a mediocre song, boringly-staged) and Poland went from last but one to about sixth. Australia, which had led from the very beginning, slipped into second place, with the Ukraine becoming the surprise winner and the favourite, Russia, ending third.
The giant scoreboard we created on our wall predicted the same top three, just with Australia winning and the Ukraine coming third.
It was a nice crowd. Anthony Ding Dong, and Ben and Oscar from Brass were there. Raily and my godson, Will came, along with Abbie, Tash, Little Michelle, Tina and Marinella.
Young Ben astonished me by asking half way through the evening if the UK had ever won Eurovision, thereby proving how ludicrously badly we've done of late. When I told him we'd won five times, he nearly fell off his chair. That said, the UK's last win was in 1997, when he was just one, so you can't really blame him for not remembering that!
There was a rather sad moment when Graham Norton encouraged us all to raise a toast for Terry Wogan, who, of course, was the voice of Eurovision for so many years. I actually think the BBC missed a trick in not using the evening as an opportunity to screen some kind of tribute package to him. But that said, I'm increasingly of an opinion that the BBC just doesn't "get" Eurovision, hence why shite like Joe and Jack or Joules and Jim or whatever those little talentless little gob-shites were called. Watching them was like watching two people who had won a regional competition rather than the slick, charismatic pros which every other country had offered up.
The contest was presented beautifully by the Swedes, who, unlike us (or the BBC) are a nation who REALLY get Eurovision. Petra Mede is always a joy to watch, particularly when she's forced to deal with the random wafflings of the national vote givers. One of them said the most peculiar thing, which I can only think makes more sense in Swedish: "if there's room in the heart, there's room in the butt!" Um...?
Brother Edward and Sascha face-timed us from the venue at several times. I still get a bit excited to think that they're there in the venue. As soon as the results came through Sascha immediately tried to book a hotel in the Ukraine. It was already fully booked!!