House Party

When I was a very small child and happened to be off school for the day, my mother and I would watch a television programme in the early afternoon that was called House Party. There would be one lady hosting and all her friends would come round and make stuff in different rooms of her house. In the dining room several people would club together over some raffia work or macrame. In the kitchen there’d be baking going on, and as a semi-permanent fixture in her lounge someone would be sticking seashells onto a lamp base. Seashells seemed to feature a lot; it was the seventies after all. I cannot tell you how much I loved this programme. I thought it was the height of sophistication and depicted an utterly desirable lifestyle.

Well here at Litlove Towers we have been enjoying a variation on the above theme for the past week, which might be described as House Party in the Internet Age. Mr Litlove is spending the week in New York for work purposes, and I can’t say I was looking forward to it. Apart from anything else, I find it very hard to sleep when he is away, and thought it was quite likely I could go for a whole week without speaking to anyone else in his absence. It just so happened that after he’d told me, the phone rang and it was my friend, Caz, and after moaning to her about his trip she said, ‘Would you like me to come and stay with you?’ Caz works from home too and we’ve been friends since we were 11, so she’s been through the chronic fatigue years and knows my little ways. Then my son got in touch to say he thought he’d come for a visit. And so we have been hanging out together with our various projects, sometimes one to a computer, sometimes employed in more unusual and eccentric ways.

See, Caz is a keen (and brilliant) photographer who likes to extend her skills whenever possible. At the start of the year, given that she never liked taking selfies, she set herself the challenge of a self portrait a day. When she arrived she said to me: ‘You’re not shy, are you?’ in a way that was evidently rhetorical, and so I have ended up taking part in them too. On Tuesday, I was very proud of us as we tackled the woodburning stove (usually Mr Litlove’s domain) and managed to get a fire started despite insufficient supplies of newspaper and cardboard. This gave Caz the idea for a face-down-Tuesday picture, which she set up before the eyes of my entirely unfazed son, who commented that he knew the ways of the internet and was therefore not surprised to see his mother’s friend gracing the carpet. I thought back to House Party and wondered how surprised those old party-goers would be to see how far we’ve come from the days of macrame and seashells for entertainment.

Yesterday was Adventures with Pumpkins day. Caz had brought her jack o’lantern with her and we spent a fair part of the afternoon carving the beast up and boiling two enormous pans of pumpkin cubes for the required mush. It’s that part of the recipe that says, ‘take 250g of pureed pumpkin’ without reminding you it requires three hours of work to even reach that stage of readiness. However, it did provide an occasion for another selfie. I grated some pumpkin for muffins that afternoon, and today or tomorrow we’ll bake a pie.

Mr Litlove has been skyping us around lunchtime (early morning for him in New York). Yesterday he had an all-day conference that began at 8.30 and ended with a party in the evening. He said there was an intriguing moment during the mid-morning break when a rapper had been commissioned to give a guest appearance. The first rap did apparently contain some appropriate words for those in the industry of targeted advertising, but the second was obviously more his own personal work about getting by in the ghetto, which Mr Litlove thought provided an interesting contrast to the business of the day. Mr Litlove had eaten his body weight in finger foods and sushi, without any more substantial meals passing before him, and the party had been a lot of people packed sardine-like and yelling at one another over the top of the loud music. He did sound rather hoarse this morning, it has to be said. Usually he has a ball on his work trips while I have a lonely, sleepless time. I could not help but feel that on this occasion, I had by far the better end of the deal with my house party, and we haven’t even begun with the seashells yet.


(You might also like to see Caz’s photo a day project, featuring some amazing details from the walks she’s been taking around the area.)



26 thoughts on “House Party

  1. OMG (as youngsters say!) – I am slight older than you, obviously, as I remember House Party a little more clearly – I did rather like watching all the crafty stuff!! But what lovely pictures your friend takes and doesn’t your room look wonderful with all those books and a warm fire – gorgeous!

    • Hurray! I was so hoping I wouldn’t be the only person to remember that programme! (Caz said she used to watch it when she went home for lunch from school). I’m so glad you like the room – I think you have to be bookish to appreciate it! 🙂

  2. So much fun–and also, I would like to move into your house and live with you. I promise, you’ll never know I’m there, except when you occasionally have to mop up the drool resulting from my book-envy.

    • You are warmly invited. The cost of living here is that you have to engage in book chat with me every so often, but in recompense there are many long hours of silent reading! 🙂

  3. I have been working with Morgana (Iberian Black Arts) today with my friend Carolyn so how apposite that you are also talking about portrait photography. Will show you the results after all the digital post-processing has been completed.

  4. What fun! Can I come read on your sofa? It looks such a cozy place. I know how to start a fire. We had a wood burning fireplace in my house when I grew up and my dad made sure I knew how to start and tend a fire. Made it easier for him to remain in his reclining chair with the evening’s newspaper 🙂 Love the pumpkin photo too. Did you roast the seeds? And how wonderful you got to spend some time with your friend!

    • You most certainly can. Now Mr Litlove is back he is both pleased that we got the fire going and put all the rubbish out and dealt with the recycling, but also a little worried that his turf has been a little invaded. I will tell him about your Dad! We did consider roasting the pumpkin seeds but sort of ran out of steam about it. Next time!

  5. love the pumpkin selfie – so hard to chop but oh so yum (especially NZ ones).

    Have to admit I rather like it when Mr C vanishes for work related issues #caesarsaladfordinner

    And yes, for me too it opens the door to more girlie activities #gogirls

      • actually just did but i’m struggling to write because we invited a 4th who turned out to be mad!@£$%^ and I cannot separate stories from her all consuming madness. its left me wordless. We (the not-mad 3) have decided it actually made the holiday but it’s all unpublishable.

        However my left breast popped out at aquarobics this morn so may compose around that!

  6. Looks like a lot of fun. And that reading room does look cosy. I’d never heard of a face down selfie so clearly I don’t spend enough time on the internet! Glad to see you had fun while Mr L was on his work trip. Let us know how the pumpkin pie worked out. 🙂 Oh, and your friend takes lovely photos.

    • I confess Caz introduced me to them as well! The pumpkin pie was very good (impossible not to produce something nice from brown sugar, spices and condensed milk!) and thank you for the compliment about Caz’s photos – I will pass it on.

  7. In this day and age, you’re never too far from anybody, esp. those with whom you’d want to stay connected. So in a way, I just feel the opposite as you, I can’t be let alone. But of course, it’s good to have friends, and a son so considerate. You’re in a warm and loving house, litlove, so, enjoy the party. 😉

  8. Your sofa looks so cozy, and I am green with envy of your bookshelves. They look SO lovely that I feel I really have no excuse for not putting my own bookshelves in better order. There would have to be some strenuous cleaning up around my place to render it ready for even the lowest-key of house parties.

  9. This was lovely, and how delightful and serendipitous that your friend and your son wanted to come to be with you at the same time! So you had a lovely time. I love those books in your
    friend’s photograph… much fun you are having together. Lovely 🙂
    Susan – You Can Never Have Too Many Books blog

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