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I don’t booze. No, honestly I don’t! The days of that nonsense are far behind me and as I sit here at my kitchen table this morning listening to Radio 2 whilst tenderly nursing a cup of tea I remember why.
I cant take it. Really, I am a big Jess who can no longer take his beer and I am ok with that. Two days of evening drinking and my voice has dropped two octaves. My stomach feels about three times it’s normal size and sweet Jesus the smell that is escaping from my backside could solve all of the issues in the middle east in a matter of minutes. Even the dog has abandoned me high tailing it for lower ground.
But it was worth it. It was a good friends surprise 50th Birthday party last night and it’s his fault that I feel so bloated…

The 110 was first coat deep when I went outside early yesterday morning to put the second coat on. The second coat is always easier than the first and the finish was looking really good.

So there I was covered in as much paint as the car drinking a brew whilst the headache of the night before was fading when Wifey came and got me to tell me that I had to somehow get my friend Gromit out of the house for a couple of hours because they had to head over to the hall where is party was and set up.
Talk about drop it on me! I was filthy (luckily quite a normal state of affairs) covered in paint and skint to boot. How was I to get my mate out of the house for that long at five minutes notice?

As I wandered along the three doors away to his house with my tea still in my hand I came up with a cunning plan. Well it was cunning in the fact it would get him out but not so cunning that it was going to cost me £50 I didn’t have but if I had to spend it I may as well get something I needed.
With a grin when I saw him I asked him “Can I borrow you and your Discovery to collect some chunky window sills for the conservatory please chap?”
With a returning grin he piped back with “Yea why not”

Then after asking his advice on where to go I lead him towards the furthest away from where we were point and off we set.
Well as soon as we were gone so were the women of the two households to get things sorted for the evening.
My first problem was that there was no traffic at all. Because of this we were at the wood yard in fifteen minutes. Of course we found what I needed in another 3 minutes and had the car loaded within ten minutes of getting there. Right then I need a back up plan here…
“Gromit do you mind if we pop into Alfreton? I need to speak to the folks in the leisure centre about my membership”
He looked at me a bit oddly but said “Alright then Nick.”

Bear in mind Alfreton was about fifteen miles from where we currently were so a bit of an ask really but in good spirits off we set.
Again no traffic so we were soon at the leisure centre and thankfully Gromit decided to wait in his Disco while I popped in for two minutes.
Indeed it really only took two minutes to do what I needed to do so what the hell could I do know? I decided that having a coffee while I thought about it was a good idea!

I dragged that out for ten minutes then as I was leaving I sent a text to Wifey giving them all a fifteen minute warning. The reply was almost instant saying
“No! drag it out”
Seriously!! I thought to myself. my friend is already looking at me like I am taking the michael here. ONly one more option on the way home…

“Fancy a KFC mate?” I asked
“Not really Nick but we can stop for one if you want”

I didn’t want…no I really didn’t. About five minutes before this facade had started I had eaten the biggest sausage cob you have ever seen so the thought of a greasy KFC was more than a little unappealing.

“Yes please chap, I am starving” I replied.

Then there I was looking at the menu wondering what I could have that meant I did not have to eat a great deal but it had to be big enough to look like lunch.

I managed to drag that force fed meal out for another twenty five minutes whilst making small talk. By now I was convinced he was suspecting something but a quick trip to the toilet so I could send the text message that we were coming home now and we were on our way home.

We beat the families back. Not to worry they had sent me a message stating they had gone shopping for shoes so my friend and I had a brew whilst comparing notes on how to cut and fix the newly acquired window sills into the conservatory.
Ten minutes passed and the rest of the tribe returned with grins all around and slight nods confirming all was ready for the off in the evening.
While I had Gromit there we popped the bonnet back onto The 110 and that in place, the front bumper painted black and the chequer plate resting on the wings the old boy looks pretty damned good to me!!

By now the time had really cracked on so operation “Get ready, get out and get to the party before your mate sees you” began in earnest.
We got washed and changed. I had to use a pressure washer to remove the paint off of me. Then we crept out into the darkness of our driveway hopped in the car and sped off to the party hall.
My youngest was snaptwatting (I think thats what she called it) Gromits eldest and it turned out he was still sat on his sofa in his pants and t-shirt not relishing the idea he had to go out to a party that evening.
A little persuasion (read that as bullying) from his three daughters and wife soon saw our friend washed and dressed and on his way.

He had no idea the party was for him and the grin on his face as he entered the hall said it all! A conversation a little later on with him had him confirming he wondered why I was being a bit of a dick asking to be run around to all these odd places that morning. He said he had just put it down to being out and about…

What a day it had been! The 110 was looking the mutts nutts now and really inspired me to plough on and get it finished. I can see once again what I am working towards and this was sorely needed.
But most important of all a genuinely great friend had the surprise of his life with family and friends from all over the country coming to see him…something he has never had before and if anyone I know deserved a surprise like that, well it is him!

Happy 50th Birthday Gromit smiley

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