Country mouse throws a birthday party

We feel like those nervous young defenders at Rorke’s Drift. We are waiting to see the whites of the spring season’s eyes, or at least the purple haze of bluebells, before we let rip, but the Zulu hordes of winter still seem to be swirling unpredictably around. A sailing day on Saturday was cancelled because of very high winds. We did have a wet-weather plan for Rufus’s birthday, for which we had invited 20 eight-year-olds: bring wellies and raincoats.

But the intensity of the relentless downpour drove us indoors. Kick the Can, British Bulldogs and toasting sausages round the campfire had to be replaced by games dredged up from memories of our own childhoods. Not all of them are appropriate for the modern age, apparently.

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When we were halfway through the chocolate-eating game -whoever throws a double six has to don a pair of gloves, a scarf and a hat before attempting to eat as much chocolate as possible with a knife and fork-one earnest guest asked: ‘Isn’t this rather unhealthy?’ Finally, responding to a growing clamour from the pent-up pack, we released them back into the wild. Muddy, soaking, breathless and lost in the woods, they returned with rosy cheeks and shining eyes. They think this weather is perfect.

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