Now before I go on, I haven't forgotten about Make it Monday, even though it has been absent for a few weeks. I do actually have a couple of make-it's to share, but today I couldn't wait to share a few photos from my husband's birthday do.
Remember last week he hit the milestone of 40? He had planned to celebrate with friends and family on the actual day, but back in the planning stages of last week's charity ball, when the rich business-man who was sponsoring it said that he could only do last weekend then it was more straightforward to re-think the birthday party!
So we had it booked for Saturday instead. Which turned out a lot better than if it had been last weekend, as the clocks changed last Sunday night, giving us a whole extra hour of daylight for our evening.
My husband wanted to do something a bit different for his birthday. He found out about the barge dinner cruises that depart from a restaurant we have been to a few times (and one we know has good food!) and knew that was what he wanted.
You charter the barge for 3 hours and have a three course dinner served to you and up to 36 other people while the barge sails along the canal. It stops after about an hour and a half, then you can get off for about 15 minutes before getting back on and having your pudding, coffee and birthday cake on the return leg.
The evening went so well and even better than we had hoped it would.
The boys helped me make a few finishing touches for the tables.
We used this old school photo as the basis for our decorations. Doesn't he look so full of mischief?
Each guest was given some home-made fudge in a little bag decorated by the same cheeky photo.
Here are the boys after everything was set up and we were waiting for the guests. Don't you think no2 and 4 boys look quite like their daddy in the above cheeky photo? Only without the red hair.
It was such a beautiful evening and this was the view out of the front of the barge to where we were headed.
And again, only from higher up. That is our barge at the bottom right.
We waited outside for the guests to arrive.
Then they started to gather.
This is the only photo of me from the night! Heading down to the barge.
Here everyone had just found their seats.
This is my brother and sister in law.
Once we had set sail, Alasdair loved looking out the front, especially when we were going under any bridges.
Although it looks like we are heading for a head on collision here, we didn't crash!
Some of the main courses.
And a few more. This is my mother in law here.
This was the rather stomach churning view from the viaduct where we stopped for a break. James (who loved every minute of his school camp and now wants to be an outdoor education worker) said he would love to abseil down it, while some other members of our party took one look down and then headed straight indoors to the barge!
On reflection, it was a lot higher than it looks in the photos!
Of course I had to have the chocolate pudding.
We had compiled a quiz of fun questions about my husband's life and placed a copy on each table at the start of the night. It was really popular and the teams got quite competitive. The winning table had his sister (and James) at it, although even they only managed to get 24/32!
Still, they were proud of their plastic medals and box of chocolates!
Before we left the boat there was time for the cake. I couldn't decide whether to make a chocolate or normal sponge so in the end I made one of each, placed them side by side on the cake board and covered it in icing! That way everyone was happy.
Once we came off the barge we went into the restaurant where it docks and some of us sat around chatting late on into the night.
All in all, a pretty special night.