To celebrate the occasion of our son's 4th birthday, we have agreed to his request for a Bouncy Castle. Said castle is booked (Spiderman), invitations issued and themed tableware ordered. Acceptances pour in and Wine Goose spends her 'free' mornings trawling supermarkets and €2 shops for innovative tat and cut-price sweets to fill the obligatory party bags.
On the eve of big day, the castle arrives and is sneaked into the garden as the children listen to bedtime stories. Wine Goose gets a quick demonstration and list of instructions from the supplier, then off he goes to enjoy his weekend, mentioning as he leaves that he can't collect it until the following Tuesday. We have four full days of bouncing ahead of us. Wine Goose is delighted by the prospect and envisages inviting all the neighbouring children around for a bounce in the days after the party.
Mr R sinks heavily down into his armchair, puts his head in his hands and asks if Wine Goose has checked if the supplier is insured. If anything was further from her mind Wine Goose can not at this moment think of it. Mr R reacts to this news by burying his head deeper in his hands and sighing deeply. He then goes on to suggest a litany of possible accidents that might happen, starting with minor bumps and bruises then working all the way up to spinal injuries and worse. Wine Goose reacts by opening a bottle of Valpolicella Classico, a light, fruity quaffing wine. She suspects that with the direction the conversation is taking she has quite some quaffing in front of her. There isn't really much she can say, but as she lurches off to bed she suggests to Mr R that perhaps the afternoon will pass without incident and the young guests will go home with happy memories of the party. He nods grimly. Wine Goose then spends the next 8 hours tossing and turning, scenes worse than those suggested by Mr R play themselves out in her head in the early hours, so that she is utterly exhausted by dawn. Mr R sleeps soundly, and awakes refreshed.
The unsuspecting children arrive down for breakfast to find a vast plastic carpet has taken over the garden; they have absolutely no idea what it can be and are thrilled when Mr R plugs it in. The bouncing begins, closely monitored by Mr R of course. Wine Goose is busy preparing the house so does not have time to dwell on potential disasters. The guests begin to arrive and launch themselves at the inflatable structure. No chance of limiting them to the recommended maximum of six at a time. One mother remarks on our bravery 'after what happened in England' as she sails out the door. Wine Goose offers up a silent prayer that Mr R is well out of earshot and wishes her an enjoyable afternoon. Mercifully the party not only passes without incident, but is a huge success, and weeks later is still being talked about by our son and his peers.