My fate was sealed from the point I decided to skip the Friday of Maelstrom for Aidan's 30th. Once Karen mentioned Maz would be up for the weekend it was a certainty I wouldn't make it out of Manchester at all.
Aidan's birthday proved an entertaining mix of drinking and dancing in the venerable Scu Bar. My present was well received, especially as I had kept with the colour scheme. Consumables it seems is always a good choice for presents. It avoids the whole "have they already got one" issue which I have yet to devise a decent strategy for coping with. It was nice catching up with Jenny and Cheryl who I don't get to see that often. Having learnt from the previous weeks worth of drinking I did end up being a little more sober than usual at the end of the night before hiking off in search of a cab.
Saturday I spent the majority of the afternoon in the coolest place I could find, namely the driving seat of my air-conditioned car. It wasn't purely selfish eco-destruction though, I did have some errands to run as well as give the car a decent run-out to avoid a repeat of previous problems. I swung via ASDA to pick up a few bits and pieces including the industrial quantity of Strawberries I seem to get through in the summer.
The original plan had involved going to Sin City. However through the careful application of Strawberry Smoothies (a new variant of the recipe) and offering the temptation of food I eventually ensnared Aidan, Gillian, and Mandy in a new plan (and Maz and Karen once they arrived). While they went to change and locate suitable wine me and Jo went about preparing food. As we weren't rushed we decided to make the Fajita sauce from scratch. We did this by reading the ingredients list from one of the ready made packets and then working our way through my spice rack for rough equivalents. This included hand grinding mustard seeds in the pestle and mortar! I was very pleased with the final result which had the edge of chilli flavouring but also a nice subtle flavour.
Seeing the forecast for Sunday earlier that evening had convinced me that a BBQ was in order. This is now a well practised operation in the household so everything was set up for a relaxing afternoon of meat burning and Strawberry Daquiri's. All in all a very relaxing and entertaining weekend.