Sunday, May 19, 2019

Surprise, Surprise!

Dave and I went to a surprise birthday party yesterday for our friend Sally, who I met many years ago through blogging. She was turning 60, and her husband and daughter pulled together this event, inviting friends from far and wide to their home near Greenwich. Her father came up from Sussex, a school chum came from Newcastle, there were little kids and friends of friends and lots of food and an elaborate cake. Sally was none the wiser.

Dave and I brought prosecco and flowers and cheese and crackers and I took Sally a few hollyhock and honesty seedlings from the garden.

But alas, the surprise was on us, because Sally hadn't been feeling well all week and yesterday her cold turned into something hideous that robbed her of her voice, required painkillers and confined her to bed. The poor thing! What an awful situation. She came down and said hello to us very briefly, in her bathrobe, and then disappeared back upstairs. We never saw her again, even when we left after a few hours, and only later that afternoon did Mike (her husband) text to say they'd gone to the A&E at the local hospital -- the equivalent of the emergency room! I don't yet have an update for what happened after that, but I felt so bad both for Sally and for Mike and their daughter, having put so much work into the party.

Dave and I looked around her garden while we were at her house, and wouldn't you know it, she already has a ton of both hollyhocks and honesty. Oh well. As I told Mike, maybe some new plants will boost the genetic health and diversity of what they've already got!

Here's their cat Logan, defending their garden. Logan was not in favor of that whole party plan.

Anyway, after Dave and I came home, I took a nap and read. Later we had a friend from work over to watch the Eurovision Song Contest. As you may remember, this has become an annual ritual with us -- watching (and mocking) the glittery sequins and over-the-top performances. This year's contest was pretty tame, overall. The Netherlands won with a song that didn't impress me all that much. I much more enjoyed Norway's clubby dance anthem and Sweden's catchy tune. I also liked Azerbaijan and Estonia. The most bizarre entry was undoubtedly Australia -- not bad, but so, so weird.

Apparently the rule at Eurovision is that you need to be either a cute young guy or a shiny, maquillaged diva -- or some combination of the two -- in order to compete. This is no doubt because Eurovision is the gayest thing on TV.

And poor Madonna! She gave a performance in which she proved that she can no longer sing. I can't even find it on YouTube. Yikes.

(Top photo: Fallen geranium petals in our garden.)


  1. I hope that your friend Sally will be OK.
    I haven't watched Eurovision for many years, but for some reason my OH wanted to see some of it ( not his thing at all. so no idea why ! ), so I kept channel hopping between it and just seemed to be lots of screaming female singers with 4 backing dancers, so the guy from The Netherlands was a pleasant relief! I am glad that he won. I think he was more or less the last one I saw and it will be another "many years " before I watch it again!!
    Enjoy your Sunday,......I shall be spending time digging out the forget-me-nots from the veggie plot. They self seed and completely cover it in the spring, looking lovely for a while, but my runner beans need to go in now as they are about 6/8 inches high now in their pots!

  2. I hope that I am not going to be accused of anti-semitism when I point out that Israel is in Asia - not Europe - so why has it always had a place in Eurovision? Obviously, in recent times, Australia has also been allowed to enter but that is a quirk connected with Australia's strong connections with Europe and the country's crazy love affair with The Eurovision Song Contest. Perhaps other Asian countries should be allowed to enter the contest including Iran and Gaza.

  3. That's so horrible, to plan an event and then not be able to attend. love the cat, black cats are my favourite.

  4. Poor Sally! I'll have to toddle over to that other social media site and extend birthday greetings!

  5. I hope Sally is much better by now! What a very sad birthday for her. She'll never forget it though, will she?
    I never really thought of Madonna as much of a singer anyway. A fantastic performer but as a vocalist she was adequate.

  6. Sorry to hear that your friend was ill on her birthday. I hope she's feeling better now.
    It is interesting that Australia sends a representative to the Eurovision contest.

  7. Feel better soon, Sally. And OMG, the photo of Logan is pure glamor. Just beautiful.

  8. can't see the videos here, not available in this country. so yeah, how terrible for your friend Sally, a double whammy, sick AND missed the party. my husband gave me a surprise party for my 40th. a friend was supposed to take me out for a short time but I was in no hurry to get back and almost missed the party.

  9. Oh poor Sally. How awful for her. I hope the doctor's put her on the mend quickly. I tried to see a couple of those videos but apparently they are not available in the US. I agree with Ms. Moon about Madonna. She was a great performer but only an Okay singer.

  10. I, too, love the cat picture. For a second I thought my Blackwell had come back to life.

  11. A shame about the party, but even worse to be so sick and getting worse. I hope your friend gets what she needs to make a quick recovery.

    Love the black cat! We've had three, each one different and each one a handsome fellow :)

  12. So sad that your friend was is ill especially on her birthday hope that she is feeling better. I tracked down the Eurovision song festival on the computer and yes Madonna was out of tune much like a lot of singers from her era she got paid a million dollars for coming but with so many contestants why the need for extra entertainers in the first place. How times have changed while scrolling I found a site that showed snippets of all the winners since the early 60's how times have changed the fashion and the sets were more low key.

  13. Frances: I never know when to pull the forget-me-nots. The performances at Eurovision were definitely uneven, shall we say? And yes, many were strikingly similar.

    YP: Apparently eligibility isn't based on geography, but on membership in the European Broadcasting Union, which organizes the contest. That's why Israel, Australia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia and other non-European countries participate -- and why the UK, Germany, France and Italy are all guaranteed slots, because they are the primary supporters of the EBU. That's how I understand it, anyway. (Iraq apparently IS located on the edge of EBU territory, so who knows?!)

    Briony: He's a beautiful cat, and SO soft!

    E: She would appreciate that!

    Ms Moon: Apparently she did improve by yesterday, or so I'm told. I like Madonna's singing, but I know what you mean. Remember when she was in "Evita"? I thought she did well but some of the critics really panned her.

    Michael: It IS interesting! Apparently Australia participates as a guest, whatever that means. They're still eligible to host and win!

    Vivian: He's very plush and very annoyed.

    Ellen: I am SO bummed that you all can't see the videos in the states. Weird! In the past I've posted Eurovision videos and there's been no problem. Must be some rule change.

    Sharon: I bet if you Google the videos you'd find bootleg copies that you can see.

    Catalyst: I thought of Blackwood, actually! And a black cat my roommate had in college named Calvin.

    Jenny-O: Well, she has gotten better, or so she told me yesterday. Seems Saturday was peak illness! Terrible luck.

    Comox: Yeah, I don't understand the point of having Madonna there. She didn't NEED to be there at all. I think it actually detracted from the vibe a bit. Hope you got to watch the Australian number -- crazy!