We knew school would be closed this Thursday to celebrate Eid (the end of Ramadan). But Eid depends on the moon, and the moon is a fickle thing. When we picked the kids up last Thursday, we were told they were off for the whole week. Joy for teachers, joy for kids, slightly less joy for parents - especially as half term is only two weeks away.
We decided to fill Tuesday with a birthday party for Dylan. Largely because it was, actually, his birthday. So, we invited some little friends from his class - lovely kids, and (more importantly) lovely parents.
Rachel thought a coca-cola cake would make a great birthday cake. Unfortunately, the cake thought otherwise.
Looking back, there may have been a little too much coca-cola. After sitting in the oven for the best part of two hours, the cake was still leaking. But Dylan liked the look of it. So much so that he stuck his fingers in it. Determined not to be defeated by coke or child, Rachel decided to add the icing before removing the cake from the tray, in the hope that it would fill the hole and glue the cake together.
Rachel looked at what she had done, and it was good.
Unfortunately, beauty is only tin deep, and when the cake was released, it slithered out, and the lovely fudge icing slowly... sadly... dribbled off the top, and down the sides, and away
And the cake wasn't the only thing dripping...
The kids were all playing beautifully in the pool, supervised by the 'ladies', while the men did manly things like fiddle with their Blackberries. For reasons no one could quite work out afterwards, Mark suddenly took it into his head that Jody was in trouble. Without a second's hesitation, he dashed across the garden and leapt into the pool fully clothed.
He surfaced to find Jody looking at him in alarm, asking, 'Are you alright, daddy?'
Claire, Amy and Rachel were laughing so much that they were in danger of falling in, while Tarek shook his head and muttered about David Hasslehof.
The only person who didn't notice was Dina, who was peering suspiciously into her Diet Coke.
DINA: 'Mark, have you spiked my drink?'
DINA: 'I haven't drunk alcohol in ten years, and I know there is alcohol in this drink'
MARK: silent for a while, then 'Oops, must have used a glass with beer in it.'
Rachel contemplated pushing Mark back into the pool.
Despite this, everyone had a great afternoon. Oh, and the kids enjoyed it too.
Dylan got loads of great presents, as always. When asked what his best presents were, he didn't hesitate.
'My football chocolates' (cost: approx 70p)
'My Wolverine vest and pants' (bought as a joke from the supermarket, cost: approx £2.30).
There's a lesson in there somewhere, that Mark and Rachel will probably never learn.