The kids swept the drive and raked the lawn, and I became a human machine, making 32 gourmet pies from a super recipe that I've posted here. J. made a slide-show and set the computer up in the lounge.
Midday, coinciding with the forecasted light rain, the first guests arrived, both rapidly becoming a deluge. I finished the pies at 10 past and disappeared for a shower and change into party clothes.
It was a super day. Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves (I certainly did - it was really lovely to have so many of our friends all together at one time), and three friends, despite my discouragement, did a series of efficient washing-up stints in the kitchen.