The last week, perhaps a little longer, has been dedicated to getting The Star & Mouse launch party started.

With multiple deliveries arriving daily and the phone constantly active; both myself (Eleanor) and Christian (with the help of the dogs) have very much been kept on our toes. Morning, noon and night, there has not been a moment’s pause.

Rather appropriately the screen and projector (our biggest items) arrived from Berlin on Christian’s birthday; it couldn’t have been more perfectly timed. And since then we have met countless delivery drivers, a retired city banker to name our favorite; all of whom have been hugely excited to learn of our venture.

The Fish House (our home) has been packed….brimmed full. With the arrival of our trinket-cinema came the introduction of humongous boxes, a stash, a hawed in every room. We are spilling over, pouring out of the seams with popcorn machine – paraphernalia and all, the whole kit and caboodle; 5k bags of sugar, 10k bags of popcorn kernels, crates of champagne (for the bar – not ourselves d’hear), 100m of festoon lighting and 100 bulbs to match, 200 LED head phones, charging units, base stations, more items for the bar – crates of beers, ales, ciders, soft drinks, food for The River Kitchen, giant size jars of artichokes, buckets of olives, boxes of red cabbage… the list goes on and on and on.

And then came…THE CHAIRS!!!!!! Oh, my! The Chairs!!! About a month ago, we packed the four of us into the car, bombed it down to Portsmouth, met a man who made beautiful old fashioned deck chairs by hand and bought 200 of them. Excited, we arranged a delivery and went home.

I had no idea!!! The magnitude of what 200 chairs looks like on mass. 3 stacks, piled in layers in our drive way stood chairs. 3 stacks hirer than Christian is tall. With a bounce in his step and Tottie by his side, Christian began his task of hauling chairs into our barn whilst Boozie and I returned to our own to-do-list; arranging the printing of Star & Mouse t-shirts, locating fire pits, ordering eco friendly food packaging to name a few things.

And all the while we hear that Stella is brewing – the storm not the larger I mean. THE STORM!! We are inviting people left, right and centre, lugging chairs around the garden, filling our house with the likes of popcorn kernels, in the hope that there is an outside chance that Stella is kind, takes pity on the starry-eyed and bends her head for one night, our night, so we can inflate a giant piece of rubber and screen a film on it!!! Now that really is throwing caution to the wind! Weather reports were against us, Cambridge scientist we met at our friends coffee stand firmly told us we didn’t stand a chance… and yet still we soldiered on, putting hope in our pockets and working on the idea that if we wished hard enough, if we crossed our fingers and hoped to die that Stella would go away and come again another day!

Finally the day arrived, from the bedroom we could already see the trees blowing around outside and raindrops spattering the glass of our windows. So what, so what, the rain and the wind would both stop – this was the advise from the fisherman (Christian). So, we got up and began to put it all together; climbing ladders with festoon lighting, hauling out The River Kitchen bar, decorating trees with hand panted signs and lampshades and old books, ratchet strapping our screen to anchor points wherever we could…and then finally it happened… the rain stopped, the wind stopped – Stella really was our friend. And when she was silent, we could see that we had made magic happen again in our garden. The lights twinkled, the fires blazed, the popcorn smelt great, everything was in the right place and things felt right.

As twilight arrived so did our friends, all dressed up, keen and ready for action. It was wonderful to see people’s faces change as they saw what was in front of them… that was the best bit, seeing how people lit up. And of course after the hard work is done, you leave it to the stars, you screen a film and let those who shine best, shine brightly, spin their magic and take our guests away to far away enchanted lands for 90minutes of utter bliss.

I am so glad that we shared this moment with friends, that they got a moment to see what we had been working so hard towards, I am most glad of all that, perhaps our dearest friend that night, Stella, decided to run herself a bubble-bath, slip into her pj’s, close her curtains to the world and stayed away.

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