The men of 72 have founded a new tradition: a summer BBQ at one of the men's home place with a big garden available. After a first small successful edition, 27 people would show up this weekend. Some would bring appetizers, some would bring craft beer, some would bring dessert. And we came early to help prepare the vegetable , potato and pasta dishes.
We had left the Ardennes in the rain but arrived in a hot radiant sun so I no longer felt guilty for having put Kabouter in shorts. The weather forecast had predicted unstable weather in the east of the country but so far so good: we were having hot summer weather.
We were ready quite well on time, so we could teach Kabouter a bit how to play at a soccer table (which he had discovered in the home while loudly singing "De Kampioenen, de kampioenen, wij zijn de beste van het land!") and to have some first drinks in the comfortable lounge set in the garden.
A bit later not only all the men, their families and way too many delicious snacks arrived...but also the thunderclouds rolled in. The first drips were still refreshing and managable but around 17h30 it really started to pour down. We were all under a huge tent and some of the kids had found the jaccuzi to splash in. We checked the radar, saw it'd still pour for another 20 minutes and then we were over with it. So we snacked on.
When we checked the radar again, the rain would stop in 15 minutes (but 30 minutes had already passed). When we checked again it would rain another 30 minutes...or 60 minutes or etc... The amount of rain splashing down was quite impressive and after a while all tents started to leak inside.
The hot jacuzzi had become quite popular and we've set the record of 12 people in it at the same time. Our Kabouter wanted to join right away. Fortunately we had his swim shorts at hand but by the time he got changed and arrived at the hot tub, he froze at the sight of so many people in the tub. Wrapped in a huge towel, he sat patiently down at the lounge bed to wait until it became more calm. We sat there for a long time, waiting, watching the others in the rain ...his little bare body wrapped in the towel next to me until it became very clear the jacuzzi would never be empty and we'd simply get cold there. At a somewhat calmer moment, I grabbed the opportunity to gently hand him over to the people into the water and that was it: for the rest of the evening, he hardly wanted to leave the hot water anymore and all evening we heard him laugh and splash.
After a few hours of rain, the table under the tent started to look quite wet and we hadn't been able to start grilling yet, so our host was looking a bit stressed. It was clear we had to organise ourselves differently. With a lot of helping hands, some furniture inside got pushed aside, some outside tables were added inside, which freed up some BBQ space under the tent. In the end we managed to sit inside quite well and it all came together while the field at the end of the garden started to look like a pond waiting for some ducks to arrive.
At the end of the evening, it miraculously stopped raining and one of the men on his way with his craft beer old-timer finally made it after hours of driving along flooded neighbour towns (movie from 7km from where we were) (news about that here) trying to find a non-flooded connecting road. We left the group gathered cosily around the camp fire late at night. Fortunately we had no difficulties driving home either, although we passed by some closed off roads but the motorway was no longer flooded.