Monday, 7 January 2008

My possibly record-breaking lunch party

The festive season being what it is, I didn’t see many of my friends for a few weeks. By last Friday I’d had enough of family gatherings and listening to Boney M and making polite conversation with people I would never see again in my life, so I held a party of my own.

It was scheduled to start at noon – not, may I say, because I am an eager little beaver, but because many invitees expressed themselves willing to party on a Friday afternoon (and in a relatively distant town) on the condition that they ‘could get home early’, the assumption being that the rest of their weekend wouldn’t be ruined by their driving into a cow on the way back to the city 100km away or, more tamely, a nasty Saturday-morning hangover. Fair enough.

The first guests arrived at 2pm. The excuses for being late, variously: ‘I fell asleep’; ‘I got lost’; ‘My mother phoned as I was leaving’; ‘It’s today?!’; ‘The dog ate my homework’.

This is just a function of living in Cape Town and its surrounds, and it’s a lesson hard learnt by ex-Joburgers, of which I am one. It’s not terribly unusual, in fact, in Cape Town, to throw a party for 30 people and have only three turn up. (Joburgers are fantastic socialisers – they do it often and proficiently, and they take time and presence seriously.)

As it turned out, however, this spate of late-arriving guests was just as well. My oven – a 17-year-old Defy; ancient enough that last time it malfunctioned and I got the techie out to have a look at it, he said, with something approaching awe in his voice, ‘I’ve never seen this model before,’ which wasn’t surprising since he himself was only about 17 – threw a small tantrum and took over three hours to cook the meal. So we only ate at about 4pm.

From there, mindful of my guests’ preference for an early ending to the festivities, I rushed things along: dessert just after 5pm and coffee and chocs and liqueurs for those who desired (everyone, apparently) around 6pm.

At 3 the next morning I put the last guest to sleep in the spare room.

It’s probably not necessary to say that hijinks occurred between the liqueurs course and the final collapse in the early hours of Saturday, and I am loath to record them here as I don’t wish to embarrass my friends (or, to be very honest, myself). But take it from me: they did.

As my friend Ronaldo was leaving late the next morning, alternately clutching his head and trying to find his cellphone, he said, ‘Muriel, you throw the best parties.’

I demurred, naturally, because I am an unassuming soul (no, really, I am), but as I wandered around the garden gathering up the last of the empty wine glasses, the abandoned clothing (don’t get the wrong idea: the cast-off clothing was only because some people had forgotten to bring their cossies so swam in the buff), the lost sunglasses, the jettisoned dessert bowls … I thought, Well, maybe not the best, but perhaps the longest.

Fifteen hours from official start to unofficial end.

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1 comment:

Juno said...

Oh Muriel, how I wish I'd been at your party (I would have arrived on time, promise). Legendary doll.

Thank God you're back on Salmagundi.