Dickens Champions: How Trish partied 'Dickensian Style'
28 August 2012 / 0 Comments
Trish from the Immaculate Conception Book Group celebrated her 50th birthday recently and being part of Dickens Champions there was only one way that it could be celebrated Rona, from the group, tells us the story of Trish's Dickensian Birthday Party:
What she needed:
- An occasion - Trish's 50th birthday
- A venue - Immaculate Conception Church Hall
- Some bonkers friends and family including the 'Immaculate Conception Book Group Dickens Champions'
- Music - a ceidilh band
- Dancing - of the barn variety
- Food and Drink - homemade of course
- A Dickensian birthday present!
What we all did
In the weeks prior to Trish's 50th birthday celebration there was much whispering in corners, much exchanging of emails, much buying of presents and much confusing division of monies. While Trish was busy organising her party and sewing her 'Nancy' "As lonnng as heee needs mee" costume, the rest of us were all scurrying in and out of the charity shops, "Got any waistcoats?" and surfing Ebay for "Whooo will buy my sweet red row-oh-ziz?" outfits. One or two of us hired 'proper job' costumes with boned corsets and all that and everythin'.
Helen (a.k.a. Aged P) busied herself with her needle and created mob caps for us. Did you know that a mob cap is also known as a 'slut cap'? Honest! If you don't believe me, look it up. Guests arrived with trays of Dickensian treats (I'm sure they ate pizza and satays then) while drinks were served by Nancy herself from a traditional cart. Amongst the fizz I noticed some negus and smoking bishop. I swear I did. Liz Lucretia Tox Ashdown and Louisa Chick Castelli made an elegant entrance together, though Louisa's silver sequinned plimsolls made for a practical, yet somewhat alarming addition to her costume.
Wal'r Pierce, Bill 'Dinger' Sykes and Mr Dennis Brownlow were all at one time to be seen enjoying a drink from the two beer barrels, while Pam Cap'n Cuttle Campbell's wild dancing indicated more than a little appreciation of the old Madeira. Mind you the women can fling themselves about with the best of them, with a flourish of a basket and a hitching up of the skirts. Watching barn dancing Dickensians was duly hilarious with both members of society and the working classes grasping each other (often for security) amid a deal of whirling about and staggering off, with the inevitable cry of, "I thought I was a man but now I'm a woman" and, "But I thought we were going this way!" Several mob caps (including my own) were in danger of 'pinging off' in the confusion.
The end bit
Little speeches and thanks. Loud applause and cheers. Anticipation and excitement at the unwrapping of the card and presents: silly and funny 50th birthday spectacles, an art book, an old hardback copy of a Dickens novel with the middle cut into a secret treasure box and a silver book mark with Trish's favourite Dickens quotation from David Copperfield, changed slightly to suit the occasion, 'Trish,"We shall always look to you and love you, as we do now and have always done."' A wonderful and memorable party Mr. Dickens.
Watch out for our Dickens Champions' blog posts as they read and review their way through Dickens during 2012.
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Reading Dickens in your reading group or book club? Get in touch or post a comment to let us know how you're getting on.