Was it 12 months ago already since last Christmas? Sure is, so Sunday was the day for the Roots Christmas party. As Root's has grown our parties have gone from a small gathering at mum and dad's house to international travel and superstars for the entertainment.
Last year we hired a 70 seater coach and took everyone (at least, everyone who had a valid passport!) to Bruges for the day. Every year we like to do something a little special so this year we hired the upstairs restaurant of one of our favourite local pubs (The Red Lion, Hernhill) for Christmas dinner.
Musical entertainment provided by the talented "Gez"... I have no idea what his surname is, but I do know he has a superb repertoire of music. He played at a big party we had this year to celebrate by Dad's 60th (even his friends from Australia booked flights to join in) and he played a song I'd never heard before called "Roots" as well as one of my favourites "The JCB Song". I was really pleased when Mum said she'd booked him for the Christmas party as well. I made sure I got a good view of how he plays. (I keep dreaming I can play guitar like he does one day... but I know I wont put the effort in to learn it!). Anyway, if you're organising an event and are looking for a musician, Gez should be high on your list, just don't book him for a day we want him please!
We often book two entertainers and a few years ago Mum managed to get a Party Magician named Etienne. As you may have guessed from the name, he's French. He's also talented, performed regularly to members of the Royal Family, won lots of awards for his magic across Europe and he's booked a long way in advance. When Mum said she'd asked if he was available I didn't think he'd be coming.
A few years ago he did a trick which left a playing card on the ceiling of my parents oast house (the part inside the cowl, that's an apex roof about two stories high) with my dad's signature on it. I've no idea how he did it, but my dad signed the card, put it in a pack that was shuffled and at the end of the trick the whole pack was thrown into the air and the one card stuck to the ceiling (think 6 metre high ceiling!) was the one Dad signed. 51 other cards floated down. The card is still stuck to the ceiling.
(In the picture, Etienne makes coins appear and disappear much to Nicola's delight)
His magic is impressive, but so is his personality. He arrives and quietly starts mingling with people and showing his magic, captivating everyone around him. My judgement on his impressive personality was what happened when we started to get everyone upstairs to the restaurant. Bear in mind this was a Sunday night in a pub that doesn't normally open on Sunday nights. Almost everyone there was there with us but there was one family who just happened to stop by and be having a drink. Their children were amazed by Etienne and while all the Rooties went upstairs, Etienne spent a few minutes with them showing them some more magic. He didn't have to, he could have had a few minutes break (I'm pretty sure he came to us having been doing his magic somewhere else), but instead he took a few minutes to entertain the children. A superstar in every way.