We have had a variety of invitations over the Christmas and New Year period. There were the usual pre-Christmas parties to start of course, plus the annual get together of the Barker family in Essex and the birthday celebrations of eldest daughter, just a few days before Christmas—because it took the birth of two children in the month of December to happen before her parents realized things could and should be planned a little better.
A workplace Secret Santa was postponed until the New Year, hence we managed to extend our festivities until twelfth night. Meantime, we had a wedding to go to, the New Year to see in and a surprise 60th birthday party for a friend to attend, the latter being thrown last night. This last was a masquerade ball —some faces were harder to identify than others in their masks which ranged from delightfully simple to stunning and outrageous. As we did not know half of the other guests, masks made little difference to either them or us but it was fun. We wore our masks for the photographs and for as long as was reasonably comfortable. Some were clearly more comfortable than others and many ended up perched drunkenly on heads or discarded on chairs. The party was a roaring success and the guest of honour, suitably surprised and emotional.
Today, we were asked in for lunchtime drinks by our lovely neighbours. It would be unfair to disclose names but suffice to say, Sir X and his wife were charming hosts. Their guests, most from the naval fraternity, were equally charming and I thought I was doing rather well chatting to one lady at one point when our hostess passed by with a tray of sausages. Pausing, she proffered the tray and waited for us to select a sausage each.
My companion picked up a cocktail stick and took hers. I did the same. I had done this, very competently, earlier. My stick stabbed at the sausage but somehow, didn’t quite go in quite far enough. I pulled back, our hostess moved on and I was left with a badly caught sausage wavering on the end of my stick. I fought for control, but it was no use. The sausage hung, just too far away from my mouth to be eaten, before toppling off and landing on the carpet from where it proceeded to roll under the table.
“Oh dear,” I said, dropping to my knees to retrieve it.
My companion smiled as I disappeared beneath the table. (I think she smiled – perhaps she wasn’t sure what I was doing—praying to Mecca?)
“I am sure it will be OK,” I asserted, standing up, triumphant, sausage in hand.
My companion smiled, muttered something and walked off a little too quickly, I thought. Oh dear.
I surveyed the sausage. I glanced at the table. I couldn’t put it down anywhere on that highly polished surface, so I ate it. I had to. There was nothing else to be done with it.
Speaking with the same lady a little later, nothing was said about my sausage faux pas. I warmed to her for her silence on the subject. Had she even noticed? I sometimes think people don’t notice much of what I say and do. I don’t know why – perhaps I spend too much time hiding under tables!
It was as we were about to take our leave that we spied the Christmas card. It stood with others, open, on the sideboard. It was from His Royal Highness Prince William and contained a photograph of the happy couple.
Of course, we know that being a Knight of the Realm probably means that you automatically get a card from the Royals but we were suitably gob-smacked, nevertheless.
I told my youngest daughter the story a little later. Her excited response was,
“Wow! So you are one connection away from being friends with royalty!”
I am not so sure, but it is an interesting way of looking at things. I should say that our neighbours are lovely and in no way flaunt titles or connections. Hence I am reluctant to either name them or to refer to the Christmas Card in front of them. To do either would be the height of bad taste I feel.
Still, the entire incident provided an anecdote to add to my collection and will appear in my autobiography if I ever write one I am sure, along with the time we had dinner with the Queen – that hasn’t happened yet of course, but who knows? Just one connection away…
Let’s face it though, our neighbours obviously move in considerably higher circles than we do and I very much doubt they ever experience such trouble with their sausages.
A Happy New Year to all!