05 April 2009

Jane's Birthday

Yesterday, Saturday, was cloudy and threatening to rain, cleared up then bucketed down last night, but no one worried and just enjoyed themselves throughout it all. Wendy and I had arranged to take Jane shopping, unfortunately Wendy couldn't make it as her father'd had a quadriple bypass on the Wednesday and she wanted to be close to home. He's in ICU but is recovering well. So Jane and I went to Harbourtown on our own.

I must explain for those not from Queensland...Harbourtown is a huge factory outlet complex on the Gold Coast, about an hour's drive from us. It features a diverse range of shops such as Nike, Adidas, Villeroy & Boche, Royal Doulton, Diana Ferrari Supersoft Shoes, David Jones, Sheridan, Simone Perele and that's just a very few. There are so much more. Jane had a wonderful time picking up sports gear for the boys from Nike for next to nothing, scoring three pairs of shoes...one pair of Colorados and two pairs of Diana Ferraris. The Diana Ferraris were slides and cost her $10 a pair. We both scored perfume from the Perfume Connection for less than half price, but even at full price it was cheaper than duty free. I also picked up two Revlon slimline lipsticks for $7 each, plus a blush brush for $14 (mine was years old and finally fell to bits).

We then had a look in the Royal Doulton shop and Jane went mad, as usual. Her credit card was smoking hot. We had a look in Oroton and Villeroy & Boche but restrained ourselves. Jane got herself a beautiful little bra from Simone Perele. I was wondering how I was going to drag the day out, because Fred didn't want us coming home until about 5.30, to give everyone time to arrive. Believe me, I had no trouble. In fact I thought we were going to be late.

Jane still had no idea what was going to happen until we were almost home and I pulled over and said I had to make a phone call. She immediately knew something was cooking, especially when she heard me say we were a minute away. She was even more intrigued when I pulled out a blindfold and told her to put it on. (I was a bit worried someone might report me to the police for driving around with a blindfolded woman in the car).

We pulled up in the carport and I helped Jane out of the car, Fred came up and between us we led Jane across the grass. Fred gave the signal, everyone burst into "Happy Birthday" and we took the blindfold off. Jane was totally gobsmacked because Fred had gone to a lot of trouble and hunted out friends she had worked with in the past, friends they knew from their courting days as well as current friends. I'm amazed though, because she didn't cry...Jane can be very emotional at times.

Jane's brother, Roger, who is a chef, manned the barbecue along with Roger from over the back and Naomi, a friend of his (the first Roger, that is...it gets very confusing at times). We had beautiful tender eye fillet steak, bacon, huge hamburger patties, fried onions, salad, beetroot and bread. Then, for later, there was a huge spread of desserts.

I poured Jane a large glass of red wine and fortified, she was off meeting and greeting. Every time I saw her she was being hugged by long lost friends. However, she still didn't know about the live band. Jane and I were having a brief chat during a lull in the proceedings and a couple of guys walked by. Jane said "hi", turned to carry on talking to me and then looked at me and said, "I know those guys...is that Greg and Nigel?" I played dumb and just shrugged but the penny dropped and so did Jane's jaw, especially when Jacqui arrived. All week Jacqui had been saying they had a gig during the day and she'll try and get up for wine o'clock on Jane's birthday, etc, etc. Poor Jane, she's surrounded by devious neighbours. (For those who don't know, Jacqui is our front neighbour and sings with Nigel and Greg...we had the band for my daughter's wedding a couple of years ago).

So, after weeks of stress, upset and nearly letting cats out of bags, the birthday bash went off really well, except that it absolutely poured down with rain. Fred, some of the neighbours and Fred's brother in law and nephews, put up a large marquee plus a couple of smaller ones. When I led Jane around the corner from the carport, I couldn't believe my eyes. The lawn had been transformed into a great party area with the decorated marquee, lights and four long tables with chairs. The guys had worked so hard while we were away. Poor Fred, who loves his food, didn't have time to eat until that night. The band was great, everyone danced and sang, the guys called for requests and people obliged calling out for their favourite songs...The Corrs, Jimmy Barnes, Elvis, Tina Turner...you name it, we got it.

After it was over, a few of us helped clean up and then I dropped into bed around 12.30 am, so exhausted it took me a while to get to sleep. I thought I was going to be quite stiff and sore this morning after a whole day of walking around Harbourtown and then a night of dancing. To my surprise, I feel fine. I'm not falling to bits just yet. Below are some photos from last night...
Unfortunately, I didn't have a chance to take a photo of the marquee in daylight but this gives some idea. (That's Cooper to the left).
I had to get a photo of my little man who's nearly three. Hasn't he grown?
We had to keep the roof of the marquee up as it was being weighed down by the rain. A chair on the table, with my squeegee mop on that. The guys rigged up several of these using mops, brooms and whatever else was handy. Not very pretty but better than getting drowned if the marquee collapsed from the weight of the water. Every now and then someone would push on the roof and send a cascade of water over the sides. We had to be very careful not to get an impromptu shower.
Kids and a dog listening to the band.
Happy dancers, including Coops with his mummy and Jane in the pink floral top getting into it with gusto.
Jane and Fred dancing to their favourite song from their courting days. Poor Fred, that was the third change of clothing. He kept getting drenched.
Happy partygoers

Fred and Hooks having a well earned rest...well, Fred is, anyway. Hooks is ecstatic to just be with Fred.


Gattina said...

Wow ! what a party and what a day for you !! wonderful ! Apparently it really was worthwhile to do all this hiding ! How nice of Fred to do all this for his dear wife !
Diane and I really had a nice day it's quite an experience to see a blogfriend life !

Peter said...

And a good time was had by all!!!!!!!!!

Jack K. said...

I knew you would be able to pull it off. That had all of the intricacies of the D-Day invasion.

Glad to know all went so well.

Thanks for letting us all know.

Thanks for the photos.

Give Jane a Happy Birthday from Maryann and me.

I guess I will have to begin planning something big for Maryann. Let's see, it will 42 year for us this July. I've got a few years yet for the big anniversary. I'll have to get our daughters in on that one.

Thanks again for keeping us up to date and congratulations on saving so much on your shopping spree.

That little guy, Cooper, is a real cutie. Keep an eye on him. As if that is difficult to do.

Liz said...

What a fantastic party it looks - in spite of the rain. So glad it all went well and Jane enjoyed it. You can rest now!

Margaret Cloud said...

That was so nice of you to give your friend a surprise birthday party, the pictures show the fun time had by all. Hope you have a nice Easter.

Jeanette said...

Gday Robyn,, Wow what a great party surprise, all the food looks so yummy.Gosh im glad nobody got to stay dry and have a great night.. Cheers .

Angelo said...

Woohoo! I'm glad the surprise party went well, looks like it was a blast. Dessert looks goooood :9 Happy Birthday to Jane!

TorAa said...

This is what we here, where it is still snow around, dream about.
A party like this.
No doubt you went early to bed. What an effort.

Christine and FAZ said...

Wow, what a brilliant spread and it looks like everyone had a ball. We're enjoying the spring weather here at present, England in Spring on a sunny day, is probably one of the best places in the world (although it's still not home). Christine

Flip Flop Floozie said...

Well what fun you guys had!! I enjoyed seeing a picture of Jane and Fred..Guess I have wondered what they looked like. Tell Jane happy belated birthday for me.
i am trying to get back into blogging and reading again. My knee is doing wonderful.
We had bad news this morning. My only brother's wife, Judy has been diagnosed with breast cancer. We are all very upset. She is 54...

RennyBA said...

What a busy day - no wonder you where exhausted.

Happy Birthday to Jane - all the way from Norway.

The pics was great - you know I love the outdoor thing :-)

Happy Easter!

Hootin' Anni said...

What a glorious day!!!

I'm here to send my wishes to you, that you have a wonderful, peaceful Easter holiday. If you don't observe, have a great weekend!!

Mountain Mama said...

I love surprise parties and it sounds like this one was so much fun.
Love the pic's too. The bird is beautiful.

Lifecruiser said...

Wow! First the shopping round and then the party! No wonder you were exhausted! So much fun at the same day. And the days leading up to it of course too. Her husband did marvelous I think!

How nice it looks with weather warm enough to have a BBQ in the garden.... ah.... *sigh*

Walker said...

LOL You;re a good friend. All that you went through so Jane could have a great day.
Looks like it was a blast too