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McAl celebrated his birthday in style the weekend before last. Steinunn and I drove to Glasgow on Friday night to help prepare for the BBQ party being held in Alan’s back garden. He turned 30 the weekend before the party but held in the weekend after for maximum turnout, which, at its peak, had a headcount of 40+.

On our arrival, Alex introduced us to Sunny, her custard coloured Volkswagen camper. The interior walls were decorated in a dark tartan (unsure of the particular clan) and seats covered with both plain and suitably psychedellic patterns. We climbed in and set off for McDonalds, temporarily delayed by the five attempts of closing the sliding side door. I sat up front and immediately knocked the mini camper van from the dash board, which thankfully didn’t tempt fate as I thought it might at the time. You see, my confidence in Alex’s driving ability had just dwindled to near zero. Not her driving skills exactly, more her attention to key actions one must perform when leaving a stationery vehicle, on a slope, and not returning for half an hour. Can you guess what happened? On Alex’s return, Sunny had gone walkies, 100 metres in reverse, into another vehicle. Don’t worry, no hot-blooded mammals came to harm. The incident only added to the van’s 26 year old history.

Anyway, after our safe yet not entirely secure (the side door coud have slid open at any time) drive to McDonalds for two free meals, we midnight shopped for bbq meats and accompanying side dishes. We spent the next morning chopping, slicing and dicing the ingriedients for coleslaw, a mountain of potato salad, marinating meats, skewering kebabs, discussing the best location for the gazebo and finally erecting the structure. Fairy light lanterns hung around the inside edge of gazebo and the kitchen table was relocated underneath it, beneath the kitchen window.

Everything was complete by the time Marc, Linda, Lucy, Alan and Tracy arrived from London in good time, down to restricted pee stops I’m sure. A few kids stopped by to pet Starsky, the rabbit, and made regular reappearances throughout the afternoon to late evening. Guests began to arrive so I fired the bbq up. Plus Marc was hungry. The bbq needed quite a bit of encouragement and after using an entire 24 bottle beer cardboard box to fuel constant flames, the charcoal began to burn, slowly turning from black to white, just like Michael Jackson. The burgers went on, followed by sausages, then marinated lamb chops and more burgers, quarter pounders this time. Marc, now obviously full, switched on the gas bbq and cooked the chicken and vegetarian kebabs. Then Al and I had a burger off to see who could cook the best burger. Who won? You decide!

All the grub was eaten. Plenty of drinks were sunk. And best of all, there was a party game, which involved nimble lower limbs, bent and stretched to the max, in a way that shouldn’t be possible for a man. Surprisingly, I was flexible enough to jointly win the torturous game. My hamstrings and surrounding muscles ached in the morning.

I know McAl enjoyed the day and as is now customary, we spent the end of the party tidying up, Al the kitchen and me the garden. I’ve never picked up and emptied so many half full bottles of booze. What a waste!

When writing this entry I followed the advice of Writing Tool #2: Use Strong Verbs. The entry may seem more descriptive than usual but that’s just me testing out my verb skills ;-)

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