So as you know if you have been following my page, I just celebrated my 29th birthday with a Jane Austen Garden Tea Party.
Some of you might be wondering why I am so extensively going through all the party planning and it was because I had been planning to have this two years ago, in my last year of being a Jane Austen heroine (Anne Elliot) but life got in the way so I decided to wait and now I’ve finally been able to have it.
So far we have gone over invitations, decorations, prizes, and how to make your own piñata, etc. Now I ended up having four games, but I know not everyone is interested in being a part of games-and I had four little girls who needed something to occupy themselves with. So I started thinking what else could I offer my party guests?
So the first thing I had planned was paper fan making. I thought the young girls would have a lot of fun making those, plus if the adults got overheated they could make one too.
But that would only occupy them for a short while. So I started thinking of something else to have…
So one thing I really, really wanted to have at my party was croquet. I love croquet, but I wanted it not only because I like the game but because I wanted to be like Austenland.
Ah, if only I had JJ Feild: Mr. Tilney or Mr. Nobley. I’d settle for any of them.
So I started looking and I couldn’t find any croquet sets that weren’t costing an arm and a leg. I searched everywhere, every site I could think of and just gave up. I thought I would just have to find something else to do.
But then in April, about two weeks before my party was planned, I went antiquing with some friends. I found some teacups, mugs, and other things in this amazing multilevel store. As I went to go outside to the shed, I spotted something sad, forlorn, dirty, and ignored.
I’m not sure how old it is, but it is certainly vintage. I got the set (minus the arches) for $30
This set needed a lot of work, someone had not been kind and left them out in the elements: they were dirty, full of cobwebs, the paint was peeling, etc. And of course after I purchased this set every site then had full new croquet sets for sale.
So I set to work taking care of it. I had to clean everything, then sanitize it, paint it, and in the end varnish it. I had a lot of help, which was good, as this was tiring.
And I think it came out pretty great.
The official rules of croquet were published in the mid 1800s, but people had been playing long before that.
For those who don’t know, the game of croquet is a race of hitting balls on the lawn. Similar to golf, one must hit their ball but through an arch or hoop to score points, then tap the pole at the end to win.
- The role of play is on the wickets and the peg, you must play in the order of the colors.
- The first player gets one strike and whacks their ball in an effort to get it through the hoop.
- Each player gets one shot and they are played in turn (unless extra shots get earned).
- ‘Running a hoop‘ (passing through the correct hoop) gains one extra shot. Hitting one of the other three balls (a roquet) gets you two extra shots as well.
- You can hit another ball (make a roquet) and earn two extra shots. In this case the first of those (the croquet stroke) must get played by placing it in contact with the roquet ball. To do that, you move your ball and place it anywhere in contact with the ball that got hit. The roqueted ball must move or shake with the next strike.
- Balls can get struck off the lawn. How I’ve always played is like golf, you hit where it lands. But official UK rules say that if a ball is knocked out of bounds, you may move it one meter inside the lawn.
- Players must hit each ball clean and without moving any other balls, hoops, or pegs. The best croquet strategy is to strike the balls with the face of the mallet to make a clean shot. (Or as seen in the Austenland video, hold you ball with your foot, and smack it into another to move them out of the way.)
- The ball gets removed from play once it hits the peg at the end of the course.
- You score one point for getting the ball through each hoop. You get an extra point for hitting the peg. First person or team to do so, wins!
We played with it, the young girls did as well, and we all had a great time.
I’ve been having so much fun sharing all these things with you, and even though the party has ended I will be continuing to share all my other party plans!