Born Margaret Clare Freeman on
25th May 1948, this page records the celebrations of her "special" birthday.



Sunday 25th May 2008

As the celebrations loomed, the extended Blakey clan started to gather. Or perhaps it would be more appropriate to call it the clan formerly known as Blakey as no-one still of that name was actually present!

The clan starts to gather

Birthday girl

Dinah and Alan had kindly volunteered to make lunch, Wirral Asparagus- a real Spargl Fest.  These spargls were much tastier than the Bavarian variety, it must be said. Perhaps it was because they were green and not blanched white. They did have the unfortunate side effect, however!

Margaret and I set off early for the Hawkshead Brewery in Staveley.  The balloons had arrived.  It is trickier than you might think to sort out 60 helium filled balloons into sets of three colours without too many escaping to the ceiling.

The first panic of the day then collided with the second panic of the day.  A minibus had been ordered to bring the clan to the Brewery and I had tried several times through the day to contact the driver to give him last minute instructions.  A final attempt from the Brewery was thwarted by the fact that there is no O2 signal there!  I need not have worried.  I couldn’t have contacted him even if there had been a signal.  It turned out that the Blue Star minibus driver had quite forgotten about the booking and had gone off to London to the Chelsea Flower Show.  Fortunately, an hour before the due time he remembered and contacted another firm that was able to fulfil the booking.

The evening was warm and sunny but there was a very strong easterly wind blowing.  Not the sort of breeze in which the ladies would be happy to stand around. However the configuration of the Brewery meant that it was surprisingly sheltered around the entrance, which enabled us to have the welcome drinks outside.

Charlotte, whom we had wanted to come as a guest, had stepped into the breach after a number of failures to book a caterer.  She and her staff did their usual superb job.  The food was so tasty that folk kept going back for seconds thereby putting the rather delicate time schedule under extreme pressure.  Panic number three!

After the cake presentation and Margaret’s thank yous, the band started and quickly got almost everyone onto the floor for the ceilidh.  I hesitate to use the word “dance”.  To my mind, a ceilidh is not exactly a dance.  It is more like people doing silly things to music. Great fun.

It is rumoured that one lady, who shall remain nameless, enjoyed it so much she literally wet herself laughing!

Margaret’s fear of flying took on a new meaning.  One of the dances involved two couples in a group hug rotating so quickly that the ladies levitated.

Margaret had noticed Diane horizontal in mid air and sadly declined to do likewise!

John S had a typically humorous interpretation of events, terming the dance the Knicker Removal Centrifuge.

Click on the cartoon and more will be revealed! 


The Knicker Removal Centrifuge

Striding Edge

The band, Striding Edge, was superb. The musicians fully lived up to their reputation as the Storming Northern Roots Band. They pitched the mix of music right for the audience and the excellent calling made it possible for everyone to join in.  Moreover, they retrieved the slipped schedule by playing for two and a half hours non-stop, without a break.

Midnight came all too quickly and time to depart.  The brewery had proved an excellent venue for this type of party and the staff had been very helpful. It had been a great fun evening.  

Margaret had thoroughly enjoyed having so many friends and relations to her party and was more or less danced out!


Monday 26th May 2008

The programme for the Monday was for a Cousins Walk.  These are held infrequently at various locations and on the two previous occasions we have had it in Kendal, it poured down.  We had half expected a similar outcome this time but the forecast cheered up and it was actually a nice if somewhat windy day.  

The Alanfest ready for the off

The core route was a trip around Helm but several took advantage of the various options to shorten the distance.  Then it was back home to a late lunch, which was an Alanfest- of the eight male adults present, five were called Alan- what are the chances of that? Shades of Many Python transported!

As the afternoon drew on, the numbers remaining dwindled, eventually leaving the two oldies home alone.

In my card to her, I had wished Margaret that she enjoy her special birthday as much as I had enjoyed mine.  I believe she did.

Don, 27th May 2008


PS Our thanks to Alans C and S for their photographs and apologies to those whose presence was not recorded on camera.


The walk


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for an enlargement or related large picture.

For more
celebrations see the
Munich Marge Fest



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for an enlargement or related larger picture.

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