Over the stable door: The joys of party time

My charity party a few weeks ago was a success. On the day, we worked under a cloudless sky to finish of last-minute jobs. Signs went up, tables laid, wine put on ice. The run up had been hard work. Everyone's spirits were high if a little jaded after such a busy few weeks. I was glad when the night finally arrived.

Country Week columnist Jo Foster. Picture by Tony Johnson.

One of our last jobs before the party began was to fill up the helium balloons I had ordered. The colour scheme was navy and pink, my racing colours. Tris had designated himself as chief balloon filler. Mum and I were to tie the ends and attach the ribbon, not easy when she needs glasses and my thumbs don’t work.

“Slowdown... stop filling them so fast,” I pleaded.

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Mum had balloons under each arm and one between her knees. Her glasses dropped off every time she concentrated on tying a knot. I fumbled trying to secure mine.

Tris sighed heavily. “Just tie them, it’s not that hard.”

He filled up another nine-incher with gas.

“I’ve no hands left,” I moaned.

He pushed it under my arm but it slipped and floated upwards to join seven other balloons already gathered in the rafters of the marquee. That was it.

“For God sake, stop with that damn helium will you?”

I went to make the punch instead which seemed a better idea - ‘The Foster Firebomb’ consisting of Prosecco, elderflower and vodka. After we had sampled it, added more ingredients and sampled it some more, the balloons didn’t seem quite so urgent.

Some 140 people turned out to socialise, dance and be merry on that warm summer’s evening. Even my pal Pat and his wife had flown over from Ireland.

The donkey racing was a highlight. One naughty grey donkey had a tendency to charge off, stop suddenly and put a sneaky buck in. If you managed to stay on you won but most of the riders hit the deck, jumped up and charged after him trying to remount as he bombed off. I can’t remember laughing so much.

Dancing went on into the early hours and next morning everyone was adequately suffering as the tidy up began. I took my Irish guests to the airport later that evening. Pat declared he had fallen in love with Wharfedale.

“It is the loveliest valley I have ever set eyes on. Sure, we’ll be back to stay on Ilkley Moor again won’t we Naomi?”

His wife nodded slowly, clutching her sick bag. She’d enjoyed the party immensely but paid for it on the flight home.

The evening raised around £4,000 for Jack Berry House and the Willberry Wonder Pony charity. Thank you to all those who supported us and helped to raise so much.