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Lynne’s worried about a leak...

PUBLISHED: 11:56 14 March 2017 | UPDATED: 15:32 15 March 2017

I am definitely not going to talk about the surprise party... oops

I am definitely not going to talk about the surprise party... oops

Archant

It’s her son-in-law’s surprise birthday party... but will Lynne be able to keep it secret?

Surprise party!

It’s not a surprise to me, of course, but at time of writing it is still top secret. No one must tell son-in-law Kev. He is celebrating a significant birthday and daughter Ruth has arranged a surprise party for him.

As a result, I have been trying to avoid speaking to Kev because I am one of those people whose speech by-passes the brain and engages automatic pilot. It was actually Kev’s birthday last Wednesday, a few days before the party, and I just knew I would blab given the smallest opening in the conversation. The ruse for getting him to his party was that he was going to see Ruth sing in a charity concert (she does that from time to time). Already I could feel the pressure of keeping the secret building up.

Should I acknowledge I know about the concert or feign ignorance (who said I don’t need to feign it?).

I worked out that I would have to give Kev his presents on his actual birthday otherwise he would think it was a bit odd. But I wasn’t confident I could see him without letting the cat out of the bag so I made my husband deliver the present because this is what I fear would have happened.

Me: “Happy birthday, Kev!”

Kev: “Thanks.”

Me: “Oh, you’re opening them now, I thought you might save them until... (lamely) your birthday.”

Kev: “It is my birthday.”

Me: “Anyway, I’d better be getting back home... stuff to do.”

Kev: “Do you want to stay for a cup of tea?”

Me: “No, thanks, love. Have a lovely birthday and I’ll see you on Saturday.”

See what I mean? Consequently, I had been successfully avoiding Kev until, on the evening before his birthday, there was a knock on the door. It was Ruth AND, oh no, Kev.

I was relieved when Ruth said they couldn’t stay long because they were going shopping. Then, as my husband poured his son-in-law a glass of red wine, Ruth suggested Kev stayed at our house while she went shopping alone. I was terrified of what I might say if I had to make conversation so I volunteered to go to the supermarket with Ruth.

Safely in the car, I breathed a sigh of relief – the danger had passed... for now. When we returned, my husband offered everyone a cup of tea and put the kettle on. Worried that I might have an attack of the galloping verbals I made a counter-suggestion that Ruth and Kev might like to go home now because there was frozen food in the boot and the weather was considerably warmer. Ruth (who knew of my inner turmoil) readily agreed.

When we waved them off, my husband said: “You’ve been very quiet... are you all right?”

“I am now,” I sighed.

I have been to a few surprise parties over the years. On one such occasion, I was a bit over-excited as about 20 of us were hiding in a darkened room and giggling while someone peered out of the window and gave a whispered commentary: “I can see him... he’s coming up the path... any second now.” Then the doorbell rang and I nearly wet myself.

The finest birthday surprise, however, involved our best friends. It was his birthday and his wife invited us over for supper, as a surprise. Now, whether her husband sensed there was something special in the offing, we don’t know but when we arrived, he was in the bath. He had insisted on having a bath, said his wife. So we waited for a while and then, eventually, we heard the bathroom door open and he jauntily descended the stairs wearing naught but a short towelling bathrobe.

“Happy birthday!” we said in unison, whereupon he shot back upstairs and re-emerged a few minutes later with some clothes on.

“I can’t understand it,” said his wife. “He must have seen the vast quantities of pizza and salad in the kitchen.”

We never did find out what he thought his surprise was going to be.

Many years ago, I issued an executive order that under no circumstances should I ever be thrown a surprise party. That edict still stands.

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