That is the day that was.

Tired and a little hung over, but I got through it all without too much damage. Of what am I rambling about this time?

The Mining/Engineering Museum/Library was not what I expected. It’s a beautiful old building and the Library itself is a magnificent hall. The storage there is inadequate, so rooms in the depths of the building are used that I did not see.

The place appears to be the hangout of retired men, a few couples and students looking to gain experience in various forms of library and museum work for their studies. It was a little surreal. Having e-mailed Jennifer, the senior librarian, she was very warm and friendly and also a lesbian judging by the phone conversation I was privy to and her following explanation of it. That is by the by and of no importance, I just mention it in passing.

The work they do? Mostly archiving to a database, describing books by the page, which I find a little strange and storing books in acid free cardboard. There are also other areas, like keeping the network updated constantly for things like flash players etc etc and assisting new users. The new users appeals, the rest, hmmm, not so sure. There is a website, My Guide, developed to help first time computer users learn the basics. A lot of it is self-explanatory from what I have seen of it so far, but I can understand older generations not being comfortable and preferring to have someone assist them to begin with. I can do that for sure and I like to the idea of helping older people use something I am 100% comfortable with. I did train a lot of teenagers and examine plenty of people in my old job, so training/helping go hand in hand really. The place is really at capacity for volunteers who can be called upon, but not many My Guide helpers, so that could be the way forward? I am going to think it over before deciding anything.

The 80th birthday bash went off ok, after all the hassle of earlier in the week. It ended up with 9 adults and 1 Tinkerbell, who lapped up the attention of course. The “olds”arrived first and were into the first bottle of wine by the time the “youngs” arrived. With hellos and hugs out of the way, we got down to the serious issue of deciding what to eat. There were a multitude of dishes to choose from. Mostly pasta or pizza, but with a generous helping of chef’s specials, meat dishes and vegetarian options and a comprehensive “starters” list. The house white wine was a crisp Italian chardonnay/pino grigio blend that was on the sweeter side of dry. It went down very easily and a second bottle was on the table before we had gotten as far as eating. Due to driving/medication/work, most people were not drinking, so the 2nd bottle went pretty much in my direction with my partner helping out when she felt like a top up. A couple of beers were ordered, but mostly soft drinks were the order of the evening. The olives and garlic bread with dip were ok for pre meal nibbles and by the time the starters arrived, those plates were empty. The starters were delicious. The whiting [fish] were crisp and juicy and with lemon juice and mayonnaise, tasted divine. The ribs were ok, but the whiting took the prize by a long way as the starter to have. Our son had his usual plate of anti pasta which Tinkerbell happily got stuck into as well, in between visiting the various grandmas [3] grandads [1] and aunts [1] and cousins [1 1/2]. I think mom and dad were grateful for 5 minutes peace.

The place was busy, with a lot of families in for the pre 7 o’clock menus which were competitively priced. Most children were well-behaved, but the general buzz of conversation gave me a few problems, but more wine soon sorted that out to a more acceptable level.

The main courses were ample in amount and great in taste and were well varied across our table. The mutton dish of birthday girl was delicious [I wish I had chosen that] and the pizzas were all thin crust with various toppings, but a little too greasy for my liking. The pasta though was perfect. Cooked just right, with some beautiful sources and lashings of parmesan cheese. They went down very well and the wine complemented the pasta well.

Earlier in the week, a birthday cake had been bought from one of our favourite food shops and decorated by aunty Linda. She did a good job! That was given to the serving staff to hold onto until the end of the meal. Then the manageress bought it out with candles lit and we all sang happy birthday to Great Grandma [Nana]. They took the cake back and cut it up into good-sized portions and we all got stuck into that and it was lovely as ever. My partner and I both had coffee, which was ok, nothing special and we finished the wine off. The party started breaking up after a good 2 1/2 hours of sitting, eating and drinking and presents were given along with cards and hugs and kisses and mom, dad and Tinkerbell left, with Tinkerbell carrying the remnants of her pizza proudly in a box for her to eat at some point. They took Nana home and cousin and partner went off and the “other” grandma caught her bus home.

The only thing that spoilt it for me was being asked to leave. I like to sit and enjoy a good meal, good company and good wine at my own pace. The meal wasn’t exactly cheap and being asked to vacate the table was in my opinion, uncalled for. Apart from that, everyone had a good time and ate well and for once Nana was the centre of attention and loved every minute of it, lol.

The stragglers, Me, Laura [my lass] and aunty Linda went to the bar next door and sampled a couple of G&T’s before heading home.

All in all, a good night, an enjoyable night and not as bad as I thought it would be.


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