This is an addition and as such is part two. Alcohol my silent partner- the party needs some background before we get stuck into the fun and frolics. There might be a few vagaries along the way as we are talking about events that took place over thirty-five years ago…the memory being what it is, though, some images are still quite fresh in my mind.
Not Going To America
I’m going out on a limb with my age but I think I was around fourteen years old, possibly, certainly not older. I was living with ‘Guardians’ you could call them Foster parents if that gives you a better understanding. As already mentioned, it wasn’t an ideal situation…but we were all making the best of it.
During this particular Summer the ‘Parents’ had arranged for a trip to the States, United there of. I was not on the travel list. They had two children of their own and I think as it was a ‘Once in a lifetime’ kind of trip, they wanted to do it as a family. Sorry mate, your names not on the list. You know there might have been other reasons that I wasn’t privy to. It could have been down to cost…an extra body wouldn’t have been cheap to cart across the Atlantic, especially when it wasn’t ‘technically’ your own. That’s not meant to sound bitter just being a pragmatist. Put it this way, I wasn’t bothered at the time and have never really paid it too much attention over the years since.
It was what it was…. I say that quite a bit….other plans were put into place as the USA trip was for two weeks.
Why I Was At The Party
At the boarding school I was at they had a traditional that at the end of each ‘school year’ there was an ‘Activity Week’program. Various activities were laid on and you were able to sign up and take part in whatever it was that interested you. There were also excursions away from the school should you be lucky enough to be able to afford them. One of the popular ones was a weeks trip to France. I think this year was the time I went. It would make sense, almost as a ‘next best thing’. Yes, that all sounds about right. The French trip might need a little page all of its own, I remember having a Tabasco Sauce eating competition. Not pretty.
The timeline would have been thus. While my ‘Family’ were in the States for two weeks I would be in France for the first week and then needed to be somewhere for the second. This was organised. I ended up staying with some friends and their children. They were close with my mother before she passed and used to live just round the corner from my original family home. They had subsequently moved to a lovely, large old farmhouse located on the very outskirts of the city in which I lived. I think that s how it all fits together. French trip done off to the countryside for the second week.
Looking Back, A Good Week.
Before we get to it I just would like to add that my hosts were wonderful all week. Casting my mind back, brings back memories that I had forgotten all about. They had two children of their own, a daughter about my age and a son who was a year or two younger. I’m not sure if they were both around for the entire week, either way, there was fun to be had. We didsome work for a local tomato farmer. Building the cardboard boxes they used for the produce, even got paid for that. Sweet.
Over the road and down a track was the home of one the childrens friends. The track he lived on was a dead end so it was like their own private road…guess what ? Not only was there a tractor to have a go on, he had his own car. Obviously too young to be on the proper roads he made up for it by speeding up and down the lane and yanking the handbrake to turn…how much fun is that for a fourteen-year-old. There were also plenty of places to explore…which we did…make boxes, play with car and go adventuring… It was a good week.
Tasted Like Fruit Juice
A good time indeed, right up until the last few days. The end of the week was promised with a party at one of the neighbours houses. I was game. So you go, with the innocence of youth and not knowing what to expect, not expecting anything either. There might have four of us that walked the half mile down the road to a house with a big front garden that was laid out in anticipation of more than a few guests.
Try to remember I wasn’t heading there hoping to get ‘mullered’ ‘off my head’ or ‘wasted’ I was just going to a party with some friends. I didn’t know anyone apart from those who accompanied me….Ummm friends. I don’t really recall too much of the party itself. I know that there was ‘Punch’ readily available and I was happy to try that for the first time…and the second, third, fourth and so on. Apparently my good friends were making sure that I always had a drink in my hand… I was making sure I did not appear rude and was drinking them… Fruit juice it was not.
Needless to say, at some point I was obviously the worse for wear and needed to be taken, with help, back to the farmhouse. The summer air and the copious amounts of alcohol did not make for a happy union. By the time I was propped up on the threshold I was pretty incoherent.
One flashback is very vivid and I will never forget it, although now it is with a slight upturn of the edges of my mouth. As whoever was bundling me through the door I sort of fell into the arms of the Dad, he steadied me and obviously said something to which I was oblivious. I remember looking at his nice gold watch….then threw up all over it. Whoops.
The Morning After The Night Before.
Well I had a great nights sleep. Not sure the same could be said for anyone close by. The home guard was called in AKA mysister. No idea where she had been but she ended up next to me to make sure I wasn’t sick whilst asleep and choke to death…might have been fifty fifty on the night,whether she would help out should the need arise. Not sure she was too happy about being roped in.
As a reminder not ever to do it again I was made to have a cold bath in the morning, under the guise of it being good for me. A few stern words were dished out and I, of course, promised never to do it again. To be fair to myself, I was never quite sure how I managed to do it in the first place… Many years later it turned out that my ‘friends’ has been making sure my cup was always full…apparently the end result was beyond their wildest expectations.
One good thing that came out of all this…. I learned how to play the flute but that’s another story.