The next few days in Derry were chaos for evryone except Sophia, who didn't even lift a finger! With Sophia’s christening on the coming Saturday afternoon it was all hands on deck for the preparations. From shopping for the food and beer to cleaning cleaning and more cleaning of the house to mowing the back lawn, which is a hill even too steep for a mountain goat. We were busy busy busy getting the place ready for the special day of celebrations. With Thursday lunchtime upon us Jonathon decided he wanted to tile the kitchen floor just because there wasn’t enough to do, but it would just be a quick job. 5pm Friday we could walk in the kitchen, needless to say Clare was having a mild freak out. While that was going on there was more beer to buy and Jonathon’s parents came by to help as did Clare’s and even leant some colourful pot plants for outside and painted the shed! By Saturday morning the yard was unrecognisable thanks to the backyard blitz team. On Friday night Clare and Jonathan friend’s from Dublin, Brian and Stacy drove up to join the celebrations. It was to be a night of extra celebrations as Brian found out his final uni results on the way.
So boys night at the footy and girls night on the couch with three bottles of wine and lots of chocolate. Jonathan’s oldest brother Mark picked us boys up and we drove to the Derry City social club for a few pre match pints. Then a quick stroll down to the ground, tonight’s match, Derry City V Dublin Bohemeths. Before we even got close to the ground I could tell it was to be a different experience, it’s right in the middle of the bogside for starters (home of the infamous bloody Sunday). Upon entry it was similar to an old suburban footy ground with high concrete walls, the smell of chips and donuts, with the chip vans within the walls, an almost open air toilet, rows of wooden seats and standing room only around half the ground. But the major similarity to an AFL game was the passion of the supporters, their love for their team was worn both on their chest and face and their hate for the opposition was coming out of their mouths. The game starts and so do the drums, the bloody drums and the chants are sounded out from siren to siren. Derry won the game 3 – 0 and the crowd loved every minute. It was only on the way out when the mood turned from celebration to dangerous for Brian in particular, with chants of ‘where guns burn your bus’ and ‘we’ll kill all you Dublin scum’ were heard through the leaving crowd. Brian did well though to keep his mouth shut (Dubliners have different accents so he would have stuck out like a sore thumb) and we safely made it back to the pub for a few after match pints. On return to the house we found the girls on the couch and very merry indeed, having polished off many a bottle of red and copious amounts of chocolate.
The next morning the house awoke to the familiar hungry cries of baby Roo wanting her morning feed and again more chaos, more shopping and preparing for the big day. New clothes were needed and more beer of course. We helped by cooking a massive batch of homemade sausage rolls there were at least 12 trays worth, at one stage Ben was nursing a crying Sophia in one arm and checking the oven with the other hand, and then there was more cleaning. As the afternoon rolled around we were ready to head to the church. Baby Roo looking the epitome of cute in a special white dress and matching cardi.
The ceremony went off without a hitch or sound out of Sophia. Once the paparazzi had finished with the happy family it was time for the party to begin back at the house. From 4pm until the wee hours of the morning we drank, sang (Jonathon signing Oasis was a highlight), danced (Clare’s parents Cathy and Gerry had the crowd going with a jive) and generally just had a great time. The craic was well and truly up to 90 as were the sausage rolls which everyone was stopping to ask about. A special 150 pound bottle of champagne was cracked open for the occasion with everyone having a mouthful of the special drop of course to solute Sophia’s special day. The next day was a bit quieter as we rested our sore heads and again cleaned. A traditional Irish breakfast (at lunchtime) of bacon, eggs, sausages and baked beans worked a treat, then a day of relaxing as we had to get organized and pack for our early departure in the morning.