How to Be a Party Animal

Christmas parties come in many shapes and sizes. This one had four legs. The Mayhew Home’s Tinsel & Tails extravaganza at St Paul’s Church, London W6 was a red carpet affair with candle-light, chilled fizz and celebs galore.  We had a fabulous time. I also gleaned valuable tips on being the ultimate Christmas party animal.

Dress up for the occasion. Ditch the much-loved blanket and get into some glad rags, like Rufus and Bobby.   

photo by Bonnie Baker

photo of Bobby and Rufus by Bonnie Baker

Here’s Evie in a red frock, a classic choice for Christmas.  

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2 Get some humans to volunteer for something eg giving readings and drawing raffles

At this year’s Tinsel & Tails, Sylvia Syms and Beatie Edney did a mother-and-daughter routine, assisted by their Mayhew dogs Bunny and Billie. Peter Egan, fresh from guesting on Downton Abbey, read poetry while his pooches provided vocal encouragement.

3 Have a bit of a sing-song.  Georgian choir Maspindzeli sang a few numbers, while The Great British Bark-Off competed at the back of the church.

4 Don’t invite cats. They always climb the tree and raid the buffet.

5  Make sure there’s plenty to drink. You don’t want to run out of the good stuff halfway through.

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6 Watch out for gate-crashers. Big stars like Bill Bailey get their own bodyguard.  

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7 Have fun, but remember the true meaning of Christmas.  When CEO Caroline Yates outlined the Mayhew’s work at home and abroad in countries such as Russia and Afghanistan, there was scarcely a dry eye in the house.  

Some less fortunate souls didn’t get to go the ball.

Amaruq (photo from The Mayhew)

You can find out more about 17-month old Siberian Husky Amaruq by clicking here.

Alfie Moon (photo from The Mayhew)

Alfie Moon had to live rough for years. But he’s a gentle boy who likes the quiet life. Find out more here.

Rambo

Rambo (photo from The Mayhew)

Despite his name, Rambo is a sweet 4-year old cat who likes having his cheeks rubbed. Find out more here.

Honey (photo from The Mayhew)

Honey is a 9-month old female Staffy crossbreed who arrived at The Mayhew because her owner was no longer able to look after her. She’s active, with a sensitive side. Find out more here.

Merry Christmas, one and all, and here’s hoping all these dogs and cats find forever homes in 2015.

dog-tired

As you can see, Evie is now partied out, but you’re invited to continue the Christmas Party Blog Hop with my fine blogger friends. Big thanks to Helen Hollick whose brainchild it is.  Now follow on below for more fun. Look carefully. There’s even some party swag in there. 

2014-ChristmasPartyBlogHop

  1. Helen Hollick: You are Cordially Invited to a Ball (plus a giveaway prize)
  2. Alison Morton: Saturnalia surprise – a winter party tale (plus a giveaway prize)
  3. Andrea Zuvich: No Christmas For You! The Holiday Under Cromwell
  4. Ann Swinfen: Christmas 1586 – Burbage’s Company of Players Celebrates
  5. Anna Belfrage: All I want for Christmas (plus a giveaway)
  6. Clare Flynn:  A German American Christmas
  7. Debbie Young:  Good Christmas Housekeeping (plus a giveaway prize)
  8. Derek Birks:  The Lord of Misrule – A Medieval Christmas Recipe for Trouble
  9. Edward James: An Accidental Virgin and An Uninvited Guest 
  10. Fenella J. Miller: Christmas on the Home front (plus a giveaway prize)
  11. J. L. Oakley:  Christmas Time in the Mountains 1907 (plus a giveaway prize)
  12. Jude Knight: Christmas at Avery Hall in the Year of Our Lord 1804
  13. Julian Stockwin: Join the Party
  14. Juliet Greenwood: Christmas 1914 on the Home Front (plus a giveaway)
  15. Lauren Johnson:  Farewell Advent, Christmas is come – Early Tudor Festive Feasts
  16. Lucienne Boyce: A Victory Celebration
  17. Nancy Bilyeau:  Christmas After the Priory (plus a giveaway prize)
  18. Nicola Moxey: The Feast of the Epiphany, 1182
  19. Peter St John:  Dummy’s Birthday
  20. Regina Jeffers: Celebrating a Regency Christmas (plus a giveaway prize)
  21. Richard Abbott: The Hunt – Feasting at Ugarit
  22. Saralee Etter: Christmas Pudding – Part of the Christmas Feast
  23. Stephen Oram: Living in your dystopia: you need a festival of enhancement…(plus a giveaway prize)
  24. Suzanne Adair: The British Legion Parties Down for Yule 1780 (plus a giveaaway prize)
  25. Lindsay Downs: O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree 

Thank you for joining in, and see you in the New Year.

Easy tweet: “How to Be a Party Animal by with & other bloggers”

 

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I Hope Aliens Don’t Find my Phone

There’s a lot of embarrassing rubbish on my mobile, including the logo.

BB

As my husband pointed out, aliens could be mighty confused if they ever got their hands on it. I’m confused just looking at the memos. ‘Next book’ is one of them. Here I meant to jot down amazing plot ideas as they came to me while sitting on the 13 bus. But what could I have meant by ‘Dr Tiggywinkle’, and then something about cradling a fire extinguisher? It hardly seems the stuff of which Booker winners are made.

The shopping lists are easier to decipher. There’s no spellcheck on memos, so one list goes

Bresd

Winr

Benecol?

Veg

Narnite

Surely everyone likes a bit of Narnite on their bresd.

I have 389 bonkers photos, mostly blurred, which may be just as well.  Alongside Remembrance Sunday in Aldeburgh and the cat sitting on my neck trying to suffocate me, there are toilet facilities in Lion Yard, Cambridge:

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Here’s Sigmund Freud clutching his belly in what can only be an attack of womb envy:

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 I’ve kept this great memento of a shag on the beach: 

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There are slides from a lecture by Roger Neighbour: 

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Every cat owner has close-ups of their cat sleeping. I’m no exception.

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I’ve kept some choice texts, like the one from Henk the oven cleaner, and the exchanges with wretched PPI claims companies. My usual text reply? PPISS OFF.

At five minute intervals, there’s a pop-up which invites me to validate my BlackBerry ID credentials. I’ve forgotten it, so that’s not going to happen.

There are a gazillion back and forth BBM exchanges from friends I never manage to meet, and WhatsApp messages from people I’ve never met in my life. One mystery missive asks me

Es tu cumple hoy?

If you speak any Spanish, you probably know this isn’t as obscene as it sounds.

I’ve no idea what else is on there, as the thing has just seized up. Excuse me. I’m just off to write a letter to Santa.

My next post should be a lot more festive as I’m going to a party. A Christmas blog hop, no less. And you’re invited too.

2014-ChristmasPartyBlogHop

 

A Stroll though Highgate Cemetery

My mate Gus was out one day;

Someone asked ‘Do you know the quickest way 

To Highgate Cemetery?’

‘You bet I do’ said Gus

As he pushed the poor fellow under a bus.”

There are lots of reasons for visiting Highgate Cemetery in North London. Here are just a few of them.

It’s a final resting place for many literary folk, among them Douglas Adams, Alan Sillitoe, George Eliot, Pat Kavanagh and William Foyle (who founded Foyle’s with his brother Gilbert).

Douglas Adams

Douglas Adams, with pencil tribute

 

The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner’s writer

 

Literary agent Pat Kavanagh

Literary agent Pat Kavanagh

 

One half  of W & G Foyle Ltd

One half of W & G Foyle Ltd

Then there’s this avid reader.  

Jim Horn 1976-2010

Jim Horn 1976-2010

Poor Harry Thornton didn’t survive the flu pandemic.  

Pianist Harry Thornton 1883-1918

Pianist Harry Thornton 1883-1918

I expect you know who Malcolm McLaren was, unlike the couple nearby who thought he had something to do with double buggies.   

Malcolm McLaren

Malcolm McLaren 1946-2010

Pop artist Patrick Caulfield plays a visual joke on the headstone.   

Patrick Caulfield

DEAD or alive? Probably dead if you look closely.

But Jeremy Beadle goes all serious with books.

Jeremy Beadle 1948-2008

There are war graves, mainly from World War One, and a 1930s monument to the London Fire Brigade. There’s also one very bad boy.

Mastermind of the Great Train Robbery 1963

Bruce Reynolds, the brains behind the Great Train Robbery

 You were expecting the big man? Oh, all right. Here you go.

Karl Marx 2

Funny how the communist gets the most lavish tomb, dwarfing those around him. Souls of lefties gather round, among them historian Eric Hobsbawm and Iraqi Communist leader Saad Saadi Ali, while a little further away lies Philip Gould, architect of New Labour.   

Eric Hobsbawm 1917-2012

Eric Hobsbawm 1917-2012

 

Saad Saadi Ali

Saad Saadi Ali

See? Ali is left-leaning even in death.

We were not alone, as we soon discovered.

we are not alone

These days you can still be buried in Highgate, though space is at a premium. The impressive statuary is packed close.  

angels

crosses

ivy on crosses

selection of statuary

statuary

Victorian tombstones

We’d only visited the East Cemetery, but, as the sun began to set, it seemed time to leave…  

open tomb 1