The hallowe'en edition
My son rang to say he couldn't find this episode on the web and so, belatedly, he is the Hallowe'en edition in which several things went bump in the night.
There is one thing worse than turning up to a fancy-dress party and finding you are the only one who is in costume and that's being the only one not in costume.
Which is exactly what happened at Hallowe'en.
Son Mark and girlfriend Caitlin invited us to their Hallowe'en party in Saffron Walden. It's fancy dress, they warned.
I decided the risk of being stopped by police while driving on the A11 dressed as a vampire was too high. Is driving while appearing to be in the throes of blood lust an offence?
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That's fine, said my husband, but said he felt he should make the effort and bought a vampire wig from a well-known high street greetings card and party goods shop.
He also purchased a tube of green face make up, reduced from 99p to 49p.
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At home he pulled on his wig. It was black hair distinguished by a streak of white at each temple. He was completely transformed - the embodiment of an Elvis impersonator.
“Do I look like a vampire?” he asked doubtfully,
“No more than usual, darling. Fancy a fried jam and peanut butter sandwich?”
“I look like Elvis don't I?”
When we arrived at the flat in Saffron Walden after an incident free journey, our son, Sweeney Todd came down to greet us.
Wearing a blood-spattered white shirt (is that one of his work shirts? Bet it is) with a large pair of scissors protruding from his pocket, he embraced me: “Mum… want a haircut?”
Upstairs in their flat, Caitlin - dressed as Sweeney's pie-making sidekick Mrs Lovett - was putting pies in the oven. No one we knew, apparently.
On the sofa, Andy and partner Amanda were dressed as identical witches in pointy hats, short black skirts and yellow and black striped tights. Bearded Nathan was a nun although, over the course of the evening his wimple was discarded and he was left with nothing but a dirty habit.
My guess that Dave, in black cape and top hat, had come as Paul Daniels proved a bit wide of the mark. He was Jack the Ripper.
I tried to laugh off my lack of costume by suggesting I was the most frightening character of all because, underneath the seemingly normal exterior, I was stark naked. This made a couple of the men scream.
When Andy returned from a trip to the loo, he said he now appreciated the difficulty of being a woman, having now experienced the painful female initiation rite of getting the crotch of his pantihose in a comfortable position.
By now the witching night was much enhanced by an Elvis in a white PVC jumpsuit, a Michael Jackson with a sequinned glove, Salad Fingers (I had to look that one up on Wikipedia) and a Doctor Who in suit, tie and mac. Sarah drove in from Suffolk covered, zombie-like in peeling latex “skin” and bloodied face.
The party was well under way when Caitlin's family arrived - her brother dressed as the Joker from Batman and her mum and dad as Cruella de Vil and a Dalmatian (respectively).
We ate Mrs Lovett's pies, played Pass the Parcel and even had a go at the music game which I didn't quite understand. My son explained there was a playlist of 105 tracks and there was a Hallowe'en theme linking them.
I cast my mind back to the last time I went to a party thronging with young people… it must have been way back when I was a young person.
My friend and colleague Juliet was sporting a nasty bruise and swelling on her forearm last week. She had, she confessed, fallen down the stairs and hurt herself.
How did this happen?
It is, dear readers, a cautionary tale. Because she had forgotten to buy sweets for trick or treaters, she had turned all the lights off in the house, hoping they would think no one was at home.
She spent the evening ducking below window ledges and groping around in the dark. It was during this self-inflicted blackout that she missed her footing…
A new best friend
Lovely Derek Cook writes from Gorleston: “Lonely? Empty House? Get a lovely fluffy dog that you can roll about on the floor with and love… “
I have consulted with my husband and he has made me an offer I feel I cannot refuse. Okay, so he isn't fluffy but he's quite good at rolling about on the floor.