Today is my 30th birthday, and so on Saturday I had a party to celebrate this event which featured, obviously, an owl-judging competition. I am still in the process of acquiring photos of this hard fought (and sometimes bitter) contest, which featured an impressive range of owls from shop-bought to handmade to stuffed to weapon of choice, but I have taken photos of some of the entrants. And so here is an owl parade!
Note, this is not the full list of entrants as some were edible (Mary's range of owlet cakes and Esme and Sarah's large third-place owl cake) and others for one-night-only (Stan's beautiful stuffed owl and Edward's borrowed owl necklace, which made me look like a pimp) so I didn't get pictures of them at the time.
This graceful lady owl was a gift from Vizzy. It was cause of particular concern to my friend Emily, who claimed it was simply an owl's head stuck onto a lady's body and so was worryingly unrealistic. Needless to say, an owl's head on a lady's body is one of my greatest fantasies.
This was the number one prize-winning owl, by Jenny, winning a good bottle of wine. However, it was a very controversial choice as Jenny had claimed (though possibly in jest and I had simply misunderstood) that she had hand-made it, and only later did I discover that this wasn't true. Regardless, it's a magnificent specimen, made from shells and with googly eyes.
Emily's gleaming white and studious porcelain entry.
An adorable little felt owl, hand made by Mary, whom I know from my time in Korea, and who, with Carlos, had come all the way from Berlin for this important date in the owl calendar. She also made an owl cake the night before, for our small dinner party, but it had been consumed before the competition had commenced.
This owl candle, with its head melted off, glowed different colours as it burnt, and was quite lovely. It was given to me the Monday before, by my then-girlfriend, just as we broke up. I felt a little guilty receiving it just after we broke up, although as she told me it only cost £1 off ebay, not that guilty.
This beefy bad-boy was a gift from Mira, and was alarmingly heavy. It will undoubtedly be the first thing I reach for if I find an intruder in my flat.
Ornate yet practical, this owl key-ring was from my sister.
Poor Kitchen Mark and French Claire had, by accounts, caused a catastrophe in their living trying to create an owl from papier mache, but not succeeding. So instead they gave me this dainty little Japanese owl, with its own cushion.
The actual owl you see here, big and plastic, is my first ever owl, given to me years ago. It is modelling Rosie's owl mask here, which was part of Rosie's "human owl" entry, which consisted of Rosie dressed as an owl!
This large pom pom owl was painstakingly crafted by Louise (and Joe) and was a worthy second place, and many thought was robbed of first prize (which given subsequent controversies may well have been the case). Soft to the touch, with big innocent eyes, it may not do much against intruders but it will certainly warm up these cold winter days.
This wooden owl was made by Green, apparently greatly testing his patience. It kind of reminds me of the woodpecker in Bagpuss, and is one of the wiser of my collection.
From Martin and Karen, this tiny owl, remarkably, contains four even tinier owls inside, Russian Doll-style. The smallest one is certainly the smallest owl possible in any owl parade.
Another from my sister, this owl, innocent at first glance, is actually an owl condom! I look forward to trying this out on an unsuspecting lass.
A late entry from my PA, this owl plugs into a computer USB port, and at random intervals opens its eyes and moves its head.
From Julie, a remarkable owl collage - an owl picture made up of lots of little owl pictures. Who would have thought such a thing could exist? This now takes pride of place in my hallway.
I'll let you figure this one out.
And there you go, my owl parade, formed from my owl-judging competition. This was the main centrepiece of my party, but of course the party was full of other stuff, such as drinking, talking, dancing and smoking big cigars. Here, to end, is the choice cut of the sixteen photos that I took.
From left: me, cousin Esme, cousin Malcolm, sister Morag and brother Ian. My aunt requested this family photo, specifying she wanted it taken before we were too wasted.
Kitchen Mark and French Claire. One of my favourite memories of the party is up in my room, playing "Roni" loudly, and dancing like absolute maniacs for about ten minutes until at the point of total physical exhaustion. Roni!
DJ Green spins some more tunes.
My PA, after whipping herself up into an ever-escalating frenzy, which included drawing moustaches on girls and fake-tattooing people, collapsed on a chair under a heap of coats, where she remained until about 4pm.