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On Husband’s 36th birthday, I asked him how he would like to celebrate this glorious occasion. He opted for a BBQ in the back garden with a few friends.

Earlier that day, I called Husband at work:

“So, about this party-”

“It’s not a party! It’s a quiet barbeque at home.”

“Right. Er, what if it WAS a party? Would that be a bad thing?”

“No. Hang on – no, I mean yes.”


Now, there were only 7 people attending, which is really not sufficient to qualify as a ‘party’. Technically, a party is defined of a gathering of 10 or more people, later joined by police after a complaint from the neighbours, with at least one person catching an airborne pie with their face.

However, after the above-dictated discussion with Husband, I put away most of the balloons – although I glued two to the front door just so people would know where the party BBQ was. And I prepared a gallon of frozen margharita, which is only hospitable.

I had baked a surprise birthday cake for Husband, complete with frosting and milk chocolate nipples (they’re not marketed as such – but Hershey’s Kisses are quite patently chocolate nipples).

For the life of me I could not track down cake candles. Whatever happened to small, candy-striped candles with tiny plastic flower-shaped spiked holders? Couldn’t find them anywhere across the length and breadth of Dubai, but eventually I located some novelty candles with a farm theme going.

As I walked into the garden bearing the cake topped with a flaming-headed chicken, the entire party group launched into an enthusiastic if drunkenly tone-deaf rendition of ‘Happy Birthday To You’.

Husband’s response was to roll his eyes so emphatically I’m surprised he didn’t dislocate his retina. At that point, the only correct and appropriate counter response would have been to pie him with the cake. However, I would first have had to put out the chicken. Also, it was presented on a solid plate which was a wedding present from Edel and I didn’t want to break it.

Nor Husband’s nose, of course.

Even though the event fell short of a ‘party’, when I went downstairs the following morning and saw the state of the kitchen*, THEN it felt like a party – or the aftermath anyway.

* Can anyone tell me what IS IT with men and bottle tops? After we have friends around I find bottle tops strewn about the place like some hillbilly shack – on the floor, across the counter, in the toaster, under the coffee filters, stuck to the grouting


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