The night of the party finally arrived. And here we are in all our finery.
Firstly we have the best read cow-poke in Trelystan - note that glasses' case in the vest pocket - ready to be whipped out at the turning of a page. A man's got to view what a man's got to view...
And moi? Well the saloon girl look got the elbow - the frock I ran up was so voluminous that I looked like a mutant tent - a row of mutant red tents in fact. So I visited a neglected corner of the wardrobe and got together a 'Rhinestone Cow Girl' costume. A vision in pink with twinkly bits. Dolly Parton? Not quite, but veering in that direction. Bit tight too - but hey, we can all breathe in!
We foregather in Westbury Village Hall - transformed for the evening by the Phillips' nubile daughters into the Saloon at 'Broken Tooth'. (Their father Neil, who will shortly be suprised to discover that the party he's been dragged along to is in his honour, has a business making and fixing dentures. I wonder how many people will present him with an amusing set of wind-up teeth)
There is much hilarity and delight in each others' costumes - the gamut of Wild West society is there; Medicine Man, Cow hands, hustlers, squaws and chiefs, banditos and a gaggle of good-time girls straining the seams of basques and bustiers. Those who have enhanced their costumes by wearing a wig will soon be regretting doing so. Far too hot and itchy. Toy Story's Woody's head - a huge foam-padded affair spends the evening stuffed unceremoniously under a table.
Our host is suitably astonished as he trots into the 'Saloon' on an inflatable bull. (Imported from the US, kept inflated by a small battery driven fan - those damned Yankees think of everything!) So with hoots of laughter and a chorus of Happy Birthday the evening is off to a good start. The drinks flow. We are fed chilli and rice, meringues and brownies. There's line-dancing and a hoe down - all good for working off those calories. I don't think I'm a natural dancer - even all those years of country dancing at Moreton Morrell and King's High Schools haven't prepared me for this chaos! The music was mostly easy-listening C & W, which made for a most unusual disco. And then, having reached that stage of the evening when you realise you're just sitting, with eyes glazing over, it's time to go.
So we leave, out into torrential rain to drive home across Long Mountain. The rain and wind crash against the pickup and we plough through puddles, meeting nothing on our drive back to Lower House. With much relief prise myself out of the costume and retreat to the comfort zone of night attire. Phew. Can breathe at last.