Who needs an excuse? Have a party…themes…

Well, it seems that most peole do need na excuse for a party: Mum and Dad are away for the week(end) (in our case it was brother and sister in law were away for a week), A birthday, an Engagement, Valentine’s Day, a New Year…all are excuses that can give rise to a party. Christmas, the biggest Party of all in this country (U.K.), is in reality an excuse for  a party. It transfers the pre christian celebrations of the Solstice to the Christian Religion and is taken as an excuse to party and be self indulgent by more people who are not Christian than those who are, I know Jewish people who celebrate on 25th December and Muslims too.

The amazing thing is that it is obvious from the story in the Gospels that Jesus was not born in the winter. Anyone who knows anything knows that those shepherd would not have been in the fields looking after their flocks in the middle of a cold winter…spring and summer maybe  but not winter….. and on top i bet the Angels’ wings would have iced up in that weather!

All that aside: I have some ideas for themes for parties:

There’ s the Black Party…all the drinks are black…Guinness , Black Velvet, Black Vodka, Black Currant and so forth… Food, Black of course, Black olives, black pudding, Black coffee Ice cream…black bread, skate in black butter, black eyed beans. Music, black origins of course. None of the modern stuff, but Blues, Jazz, Calypso, Hiawatha’s Wedding Feast and so forth Dress, Black. Conversation…why, Black Humour of course. Dance? The Black Bottom of course, need you ask? Night caps? Loch Dhu Black Whiskey of course.

At school our house colour was Green and we organised the first ever Green Party in the country. Enough said……

What about the Farewell to Whiskey Party? Just a normal party but before they come everyone has to learn to play a particular tune on the instrument of their choice. At the beginning of the evening there will be a tout ensemble rendition of the tune which will be recorded (in stereo)

Then, and only then, will all the whiskey in the room be distributed….and drunk. Through the evening the recording will be repeated and finally, just before people make their way home and all the whiskey has gone…the tune will be recorded just one more time…what is the tune?..Farewell to Whiskey of course.

You’ve surely heard o’ famous Neil,
The man that played the fiddle weel,
I wat he was a canty chiel’,

And dearly lo’ed the whiskey, O!
And ay sin’ he wore tartan trews,
He dearly lo’ed the Athole brose;
And wae was he you may suppose,
To play fareweel to whiskey, O.

Alake, quoth Neil, I’m frail and auld,
And find my bluid grows unco cauld,
I think ‘twad mak me blythe and bauld,
A wee drap highland whiskey, O
Yet the doctors they do agree,
That whiskey’s no the drink for me:
Saul, quoth, ’twill spoil my glee,
Should they part me and whiskey, O.

Tho’ I can get baith wine and ale,
And find my head and fingers hale,
I’ll be content, tho’ legs should fail,
To play fareweel to whiskey, O.
But still I think on auld lang syne,
When Paradise our friends did tyne,
Because something ran in their mind
Forbid, like highland whiskey, O.

Come, a’ ye powers of music, come!
I find my heart grows unco glum;
My fiddle-strings will no play bum
To say fareweel to whiskey, O.
Yet I’ll tak my fiddle in my hand,
And screw the pegs up while they’ll stand,
To mak a lamentation grand,
On gude auld highland whiskey, O.


The link I have given is a fair rendering of the tune, There are others.

So: Have you any ideas for themes for parties? Err..Tarts and Bishops and such themes are out…old hat!


18 Responses to “Who needs an excuse? Have a party…themes…”

  1. Grannymar Says:

    I’m thinking….!

  2. bikehikebabe Says:

    Oh darn! While I was thinking, Grannymar got there first.

    Oh Yes, I LOVE the music ensemble idea for this party. It might help if you told them what key—tho’ more fun without that info.

  3. Conrad Says:

    I usually need to party and THEN come up with themes! They aren’t very good, but they sure seem great at the time.

  4. Grannymar Says:

    A Guess What party!

  5. Ursula Says:

    Am not sure you are right about shepherds not being out with their flock in snow and ice. I distinctly remember my mother sending me across some fields (Northern Germany, I must have been about ten) just before Christmas, with instruction to deliver a flask of rum and some of her biscuits and God knows what else was in the basket to a lone figure, his herd and – naturally – his dog. I also remember wishing my mother could have seen his happy glow at her kindness herself.

    Happy picture book stuff if ever there was any.

    I don’t know much about whiskey. Dimly remember my father telling me that there are two types – one is Scottish, the other one I have forgotten; was it Bourbon?

    Mention whiskey and my beloved Richard Burton and his wonderful voice pop into my mind like a candle lit Christmas tree: Have you ever listened to his rendition of Thomas Dylan’s Milkwood Tree? MY GOD.


  6. Ursula Says:

    Yes, I know it’s Dylan Thomas.


    • magpie11 Says:

      Hadn’t noticed the mistake there but it’s Under Milkwood! And Burton doing it is one of my pet hates…brilliant tho’ it is…as a child I got fed up with my mother going gaga about it…..
      One drunken Welshman performing the work of another drunken Welshman

      Chuckle! I got that description from my father. Some times he’d say anything to annoy my mother.

      I don’t know about German Shepherds but I suppose it does vary from place to place. I remember hard winters when we had to take hay to sheep in the fields but they were never up in the hills as far as I recall. Mind you we never had to cope with wolves or bears… and back then very little rustling.

  7. Ursula Says:

    Of couse, it’s a mistake, Magpie {the tree bit]. But it’s My mistake, quite deliberate. Why this shoulde be so I do not know, other than speculating that it has something to do with Thomas Hardy, or “Die Judenbuche”, or the fact that I come from the land of forests; trees looming large in fairy tales. Somewhere to get lost in – I suppose. And how to find our way out (or back) again. I also say – it’s one of my few stabs at coquettishness(now there is an awful word): “I am prawn to …” when I am only prone to …

    Have noticed most annoying tendency of mine to use brackets/square brackets/hyphens, anything that smacks of punctation (though my definition of punctuation is to give the reader a kind pause to catch his/her breath). More of which later. Am still writing with only one hand – K wires quietly seeking a route of escape. First time in over twenty years I am not overly impressed with the NHS. Pain is fascinating.

    Yes, one drunk Welsh to another. With your love of music I expect you to understand the allure of a great voice. I will forgive a multitude of sins/shortcomings/even boredom if delivered with a great voice. At the risk of causing your female readers’ wrath, on the whole female speaking voices and their timbre rarely make one stop.

    Since we are on Welshmen and mothers: The worst kept secret in our house was my mother going all jelly when Tom Jones sang his “Green grass of home” I believe it was called. Well, each to their own. Richard Burton is mine.


    • Magpie 11 Says:

      Ah! Deliverable Mistakes. I like it… that is my punctuational weakness…I heard someone complaining of unnecessary ellipses scattered around the internet. They are usually used to indicate an omission (e.g in a quotation). I tend to use them to indicate a pause in my thought flow or just a rest…I’ve done it for years and years and now , apparently, it is becoming more common in Internet and “texting” use……

      I am “writing” with one eye, with my lazy eye in fact, as the right (dominant) eye has had a new lens implanted and I’m afraid that my glasses don’t now match….hopefully the astigmatism and the cataract have been cured.

      Keep on at the NHS…get your GP on your side… good luck.

      I understand what you mean about female speaking voices but then you hear a voice like Kathleen Ferrier or Mary Black or Ella or Cleo Laine.

      There is something about The Green Green Grass of Home …. a country song ….. it is a little bit shiver making, a small bit of the Tingle Factor. Another Welshman with that special type of arrogance that the Welsh male has. They may not all be able to sing but they all try to. (that was a personal comment I made to a welsh friend at his 25th Wedding Anniversary after he had sung Mae Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau (The Land of my fathers). He eventually gathered his wits swore he’d get his own back and his son (whom I had taught) slapped me on the back and congratulated me on being the first person ever to reduce his father to speechlessness. Actually Jerry and I got on well together.

      So, you have done and Elizabeth then…”Gone for Burton”?

  8. Ursula Says:

    Yes, the much maligned ellipsis… I like it: Alllows you to fill that what’s missing with your own words/thoughts/blank spaces. Like a stoop or a stammer, our punctuation is who we are. Or as my son remarked some months ago: “Mama, at the moment you are a keyboard of sighs.” But then he has always been given to writing poetry. At a drop of a pin. Quite astonishing. Unfortunately, like most gifted people he is dismissive of his considerable talents. As if that which comes natural to us lacks value. I, on the other hand, follow my own not so much chosen as imposed leader: Sisyphus. With blood, sweat and a lot of swearwords I crane the blasted rock up the mountain; only to run after it as it rolls down again. Don’t say the gods didn’t have a sense of humour when creating their own little soap operas down here on earth before ‘Eastenders’ and the advent of TV. Mind you I’d rather shift a rock (broken arms or not) than having my liver hacked out daily: I imagine Richard Burton, George Best, Keith Richards, Lemmy, and hundreds of others I can think of will be chained to that wall of eternal punishment.

    Have I done a Taylor/Burton? Not in the Who is afraid of Virginia Woolf strain. I always feel sorry for men faced with female verbal virulence. But, yes, I have seen tmper – not just my own. Some of the most wonderful men I have known, not least my maternal grandfather, uncles, my brother, my son, are given to temper how only those who keep their cool for a very long time can. My Latin teacher was like that. When he made the walls vibrate we knew we had fucked up BIG time. The anger of a wonderful and calm man so noteworthy. Those constantly buzzing around like irritating bluebells barely warrant more than a slap with a fly flappers (beloved by one of my brothers-in-law).

    Magpie, the NHS is fine (though will not relate to anyone what happened to me back on the ward in a fuzzy state of the aftermath of anesthetic – it was despicable). On the whole I don’t bother my GP with anything. Did you know that apart from Vets and Journalists GPs have the highest incident of suicide within any profession? Can’t say I blame them having to listen to life’s shit all day long. I will refrain from asking why NLP practitioners and their ilk – on the whole – do better on the scale of personal happiness. If I could charge £220 for an initial consultation (45 minutes – no joke) I too would happily invite my bank manager to a free (for him) lunch.

    I thought you might have a lazy eye. Stop it now, Magpie: Cataract? Astigmatism? Thanks a bunch. I myself am short sighted (not only metaphorically) and one of my eyes is astigmatistly bent too. That’s where I draw the line. The rest can go away and bury their nasty implications in the next pile of dog shit in the park. Told you my bedside manner is examplary.

    Female voices; naturally I did not refer to heaving bosoms SINGING. Though I believe Edith Piaf was more a sparrow than a pigeon. As to Mahalia Jackson…

    And unless a Welshman has at least four lllls in his name I won’t acknowledge his parentage till shown his passport/birth certificate.


  9. bikehikebabe Says:

    I see a match here…Magpie & Ursula. LOVE to read it.

    • magpie11 Says:

      Much more a case of “Great minds think alike” or, perhaps, “Fools seldom differ”…. though Ursula is nobody’s fool.

      AND she learned Latin…of which I am inordinately jealous. They would not allow me that privilege but made me read such inflated verbosity as Bleak House by Charles Dickens…. Further English Studies” Huh!

    • magpie11 Says:

      She married him three times IIRC!

      Sisyphus ‘syndrome’
      Psychiatry A mindset typical of a stress-driven type ‘A’ person, who obtains no gratification from accomplishing the difficult goals he or she places upon himself or herself. See ‘Anal-retentive.’, ‘Toxic core’, Type A personality.

      What about the noisy types who go veeeeery quiet when they are angry?

      I have my own ideas about NLP…… Which I will not repeat on line….

      Sorry about the optical references ……

      Heaving Bosoms singing….what a vision! I has forgotten Mahalia Jackson and for that matter Sister Rosetta Tharpe

      As for Piaf…. shivers….

  10. bikehikebabe Says:

    Puer et puella sunt boni.
    Gallia est omnis divsa in partes tres.

    I had Latin in high school. Are you jealous of me?

  11. Ursula Says:

    Oh, BHB, of course I am jealous, can’t speak for Magpie: When I was not paying attention I had to learn – by heart and recite – the first page of that war Julius fought and found necessary to record. Puella and her boyfriend? My foot. You had an easy escape. Do I remember anything for my pains? No. Still it was good.

    Magpie, whilst I will admit to tendency of being ever so slightly anal retentive, watever else I am I am not Type A. Judging by today’s utter, dismal and not to be admitted sloth I figure somewhere between V and Z being more accurate.Intersting, luckily never encountered: “Noisy types who go quiet when angry”. I’d be dead by now.


  12. Magpie 11 Says:

    Yes, I’m jealous because I asked to be allowed to learn Latin and “they” said no!

    Something like soemthing male and the female equivalent are good…
    then something about France/Gaul is all divided (divsa..unless it is a mistype of diva …which fits France nicely)in three parts…

    And that is from my general knowledge of English, French and History.

    I think my favourite motto is:

    Definition of Quidvis recte factum quamvis humile praeclarum.

    which translates to:

    Whatever is rightly done, however humble, is noble….

    First saw it above the entrance to a Vehicle body workshop between Smethwick and Edgbaston and wrote it down on a wooden wine box (empty) I was carrying.

    As for type A personality..I apparently have some of the traits…probably due to my circumstances.

  13. Magpie 11 Says:

    divisa…I was right….

  14. Ursula Says:

    Don’t worry too much, Magpie, since apart from Zeitgeist, Kindergarten, Blitz und Schadenfreude the English language (take note Americans) is largely built on ancient Roman import. Which is why – when you are NOT English but trying to get to grips with it – it helps enormously to have studied Latin at school. A type of shortcut.

    Your tale is tragic: Name me one child – other than you, me and anyone (in Germany) who wants to study medicine – volunteering to learn veni, vidi, vici “Ich kam, ich sah, ich siegte” (what is it with Caesar?) and I show you an aberration (origin: ab errare). What’s moving is that you made a note of that inscription. Such was my upbringing that when my father delivered me to my grammar school I had to translate their motto before I was allowed to set foot into the place. Do I remember what it said? No. Probably something along the lines of “Freude durch Arbeit” oder “Vorsprung durch Technik”. I am sure that when, many years later, I took my then four year old to meet my old teachers I too pointed out that chiselling.

    Sad fact, I nearly fled these isles when I learnt that Latin was not even on offer thanks to the wisdom of our local schools’ curriculum. As to Old Greek let’s not go there. However, if he had wanted to take Mandarin he could have done: Sometimes I fear for my sanity.


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