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Friday night is Sparky night. Sparky’s been my most constant mate since we were at university together and I see him as regularly as I can. We have a fair history of combined stupidity, such as going camping on a hill in Wales with only alcohol, a duvet, some candles and an acoustic guitar in the torrential rain; Having a three day Western-a-thon with my fairly extensive video collection that left us starving, hallucinating and sleep-deprived; Standing on column bases in a Roman fort pretending to be Emperors. I think you probably get the picture. We’re capable of being fairly sensible and intelligent, but often stupid and dumb is so much more fun. Sparky and I can watch documentaries about Roman military expansion or the role of nanotechnology, or the driving forces of Byronic poetry and comment in serious and thought-provoking ways. And then we switch over and laugh uproariously to Spongebob Squarepants while I do my award-losing Patrick Star impressions and Sparky threatens to beat me around the head with any heavy, blunt object that comes to hand. When you grow up, you grow old. Screw that for a future. I intend to be trying to push snowballs into my ears and questioning the root of the word ‘fart’ when I’m old. I intend to giggle like a schoolgirl when people use the word tit, even in reference to ornithology. NEVER GROW UP, JUST GROW OUT!

Sparky stayed with us for the weekend and through the Saturday event:

So Saturday was the BBQ. We’ve been phenomenally lucky this year in that we’ve had five BBQs between the bunch of us and it’s been excellent weather each and every time. Last Friday, the clouds over parts of Yorkshire looked like mouldy, oil-soaked cotton wool. The main one actually looked like a mushroom cloud as we drove back up from the midlands. Now that’s a scary sight. My first thought was: “Hey, work’s gone bang”, shortly followed by “I’m glad I sorted out that house insurance now” and finally “it wasn’t me, officer, I was in a car on the M1!” Anyhow, despite the obvious signs that God was urinating on Northern England through a tea-strainer, on Saturday it was blue and gorgeous. Disney happy-ending gorgeous. It continued to be gorgeous (sick of that word yet) through Sunday. This morning? Grey. Rain. Work. Grarrrh!

I suspect I’ve undergone some kind of drastic climate change in the last few months. I’m not talking about the world or even Yorkshire. I’m talking about me. Personally. I’ve had an environmental collapse. For some reason I’ve become a hot and sweaty individual and I’d be interested to know why. I’ve always been a kind of temperate zone, with a touch of tundra during the winter and never going further that sub-tropical even during high summer. Now? I’ve gone all equatorial. Every morning now I wake up with my pillow soaked, Mrs Moosehunter trying to stay out of furnace-blast range, wondering why I’m so hot and glancing around in that blurry, barely awake manner, trying to spot flamingos or palm trees or other tropical flora and fauna. I don’t really know why I mention this here, but then I’m a random kind of guy and this is a random kind of a diary.

My parents’ new house is being built next to my great aunt’s, and this is the land where we have our BBQs. The problem this time was the building works and rubble that blocked the usual entrance to the back fields. The solution? A tortuous way down the village and round the back through a different gate. Mrs Moosehunter went to a great deal of effort producing cardboard signs to the effect of “Back off dumbass and find another way around!” A series of very lovingly manufactured cardboard arrows with “BBQ” written on them pointed the way from the sign at the usual entrance, right the way down to the entrance to the field, where visitors could be then pointed by further signs at the gate. This gate held the penultimate sign, which read “PRIVATE BBQ. STRICTLY INVITATION ONLY.” Beyond that the last sign merely said “Please shut the gate.” I’m going into all this detail for two reasons.

Firstly, it is amazing to me how many people in the village have come to every BBQ we’ve had in the last 3 years and always at the same location and yet, when presented with an obstacle, go to pieces so fast that bystanders get hit by shrapnel. People who’d never been before made it past the cardboard arrows first time. I think it’s a problem with the human brain. Once in a routine, breaking said routine causes irreparable damage to the ability to adapt. Several times we watched confused-looking people on the road shrugging, bumbling around or merely trying to make short-cuts where there aren’t any. If I’m ever put in charge of any kind of education or training, I may use exactly the same technique to test mental agility.

Secondly, we have NEVER issued specific invitations. It’s always been a case of ‘if you turn up and cause no trouble, fine. If you turn up and bring drink: well HELLO BABY!’ Recently, however, there has become an element that is not popular (read: as popular as a ham cake at a Jewish wedding.) I’m not going into too many details, as I stated my intention recently not to be nasty about people here. Suffice it to say that if Hitler, Lucifer and the ever-delightful Paris Hilton had turned up, they’d still have been more welcome. Even if they came bearing turds. This time, I carefully put together a whole load of invitations in order to exclude said minority. I promptly forgot to distribute most of them. The people who always turn up turned up, as we knew they would, and so did the minority. So much for the English Language. Perhaps the phrase ‘STRICTLY INVITATION ONLY’ or the word ‘PRIVATE’ translate into ‘PLEASE COME IN AND MAKE YOURSELF AT HOME’ in Assholese! (Apologies to anyone who were already expected but still didn’t have an invite. That’s down to my mental capacity, which is roughly that of a bowl of mushroom soup. I am to blame, as always.)

Still, even with the Assholese delegates, the whole thing was a massive success, bettering many of our BBQs for the last couple of years. I enclose at the end a number of photographs that say it all. Blowing speakers, bruised heads, three dead sheep, jenga, boogying grandparents, the day had the whole thing going on. One of the more interesting moments included watching the Geordie (that’s someone from Newcastle-on-Tyne to any non-British readers) walking gingerly up to two dead sheep in the next field and trying to ascertain whether they WERE dead, or perhaps merely playing a huge practical joke. I was standing with baited breath waiting for the huge, prehistoric, sabre-toothed killing machine that had obviously done the sheep in, to charge the Geordie down from behind. I’m not sure why dead animals fascinate people, though I have to admit to having fallen foul of such fascination myself before now. I suppose it’s morbid curiosity or the variety that makes people examine the contents of their handkerchief after a massive blow, make an exaggerated sniff when they’ve just farted, or put random phrases into Google Image Search, like ‘sausage buttocks’ or ‘wobbly parts’. Or is that just me?

I even danced. Several times. My head-banging ‘I’m an 80s rocker’ dancing doesn’t impress people like it used to do when I was 20 and not crippled in various ways. Still, when great heavy rock songs come on, it’s nice to have a little nostalgia-mosh (despite the fact that my neck felt like I’d been abused by a sumo wrestler for the next couple of days.) I did a great deal more of my most successful dance yet (the walking slowly backwards and forwards, shaking your head dance that only goes well with Goth and Indie.) This is a dance move guaranteed to drive the ‘norms’ away from the dance floor. Believe it or not, the moshing becomes a morbid tourist attraction, much like the dead sheep, or a recent road-accident. Finally, there was my ordinary dancing, such as might be done by a Gerry Anderson Puppet with a bad case of the DTs, or a homicidally-enraged giraffe with spastic paraplegia. No, I don’t dance well. At best, I am a spectacle. Still, a few nice people had sympathy dances with me.

And what of other guests? Uncle Fester is a name I will use hereafter to refer to both of the twins who are some of our best friends. They’re both 40 and married with kids and are both sickeningly, disgustingly likeable and generous. Generous? Jeez, don’t get me started. I only really mention this because one of the Festers spent a great deal of the night sharing the actual BBQing work with my dad. They both churned out hot meat products like a factory conveyor belt to slightly wobbly adults and ever-ravenous children, and with precious little thanks I think. Thus: thanks to both of them from everyone. The other Fester is intent on improving his track record on staying-power. In the past we’ve had such lovely endings from him as: ‘asleep in a chair being sat on by an assortment of people for humorous photos’ or ‘draped over a gate by 10:30’. This time he made it all the way, and took all the ribbing like a champ, with the regular mournful cry of ‘Stop mocking me!’ Seriously, both the Festers are top people. I recommend you all get yourself a Fester. Perhaps a site on the web? www.rentafester.com? No, it doesn’t exist. Yet…

One thing that filled me with wonder is the amazing draw of Jenga. The wooden tower-of-blocks game sat on a table and instantly caught the imagination of anyone who came within its sadistic aura. People would sit, adamant that they had no interest in such childish pursuits and when I passed again five minutes later, they were concentrating on removing a block from the tower under slight-breeze conditions. I know people are concentrating when their tongue sticks out of the corner of their mouth and they squint. Either that or they’re from a family without too much external mixing of bloodline if you get my drift.

Now for a selection of shots from the weekend. Apologies to anyone offended by a photo of them. Just look at the one of me at the top! Still, if your REAL offended, just tell me and they’ll be removed.

</p><p><div align=”center”>1. A man we will just call CANMAN. Hmmm </p><p> <img src=”http://www.geocities.com/balventius/Canman.jpg”></p><p>2. The Infamous SPARKY trying his steady hand at Jenga.</p><p> <img src=”http://www.geocities.com/balventius/Sparky.jpg”></p><p>3. One of the Uncle Festers reenacting a scene from Reservoir Dogs to a Stealer’s Wheel Song.</p><p> <img src=”http://www.geocities.com/balventius/Fester.jpg”></p><p>4. Next day in the pub, the Geordie does his Vampire Lite impression.</p><p> <img src=”http://www.geocities.com/balventius/Geordie.jpg”></p><p>Music for right now is Love Metal by Him.</p><p>Ciao for now.</p><p>Moosehunter.<br>


Written by SJAT

August 20, 2009 at 11:48 am

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