My mother flew in a few days earlier, and was happy to babysit while the wife and I took advantage and headed out for the night. Not out out, just out. A few drinks and a cigar in the local pub.
It was very very cold out, but we wrapped up and strolled over to the Carpenters Arms on Cheshire Street. Once owned by the Krays, it's a nice pub with a decent smoking area out back. They've a good selection of beers on offer, Belgian, German and English real ales. I had a couple of Brooklyn beers, which I have to say, left me feeling well rough the next morning, and most of the day too. Nice enough beer though.
Overnight temperatures dropped to -6, but that didn't bother us too much as we sat outside in the smoking area, drinking cold beer. Brrrrr. The cigar was a Ramon Allones Superiores from La Casa del Habano in Luxembourg, which turned out to be a perfect sub-zero outdoor smoke, even getting a few nods of approval from the cigarette smokers who occasionally popped out from the warmth.
An early start the next day and I was suffering from a very sore head. Apart from that, the party was a success and everybody had a great time, with only minor injuries to a few kids who mistakenly thought toys were for sharing.
My after-party cigar was a Ramon Allones Specially selected, and with the temperature well up from the night before, and all our guests gone home, I had the garden to myself. The Specially selected isn't as heavy as the Superiores, but it's just as good. If I had to pick a favourite, it would have to be the specially selected. Maybe it's not as perfectly rolled as the Superiores, but each one is always slightly different to the last, and never disappoint. The aged ones are outstanding.
All in all, a brilliant day and a great party. The boy loved his Buzz Lightyear, his rocket ship and the twenty odd cars, books and DVDs. Thanks to everybody who dropped by and made the day what it was, but mostly thanks to my mother, who flew in especially and did so much for us over the weekend.
Until next year.