Wednesday 25 April 2007

Pot-luck suppers and sex

December 2006

Well that was fun. Tiring but fun. Somehow managed to get everything sorted and the house looking festive – basically tons of candles everywhere. Everyone admired the holly bushes (thanks to blissfully pragmatic advice I’d bunged a load of fake berries on it). The cyclamens looked lovely too – a blazIe of deep red either side of the front door. With a fire gently burning (OK, there had been a moment where it was about to go out but judicious tossing on of candle wax brought it back to life) and the tree twinkling, it really did look pretty good.
A friend said it was a shame we couldn’t invite our house viewers to parties as the place looked so warm and welcoming. I suppose it would be something different – but can you imagine the estate agent…. ‘Er, no Mrs Blah, you can’t view the house in the morning I’m afraid – you have to go at 9pm for a drinks party.’

For our girls’ night get-togethers we usually operate a potluck system (theoretically much easier for the hostess) but I’m not the most organised of people and clean forgot what I’d asked everyone to bring (ie savoury or sweet). So as they arrived I was handed pudding after pudding, cheesecake after fruit crumble after profiteroles after some kind of scrumptious Jewish pastries after some other kind of cousin of baklava. I’d already done a vast chocolate bread and butter pudding (Delia) so we were pudding heavy. Ah well, nobody seemed bothered – why would they? Too many puddings? I can think of worse problems! I spread the savouries around and added a few piles of crisps and cheese and, as is the way of these things, it all worked out just fine.

It was, as usual, a raucous affair and in appalling taste. We did the local gossip (who was having affairs with whom), we covered the car torchings in town (shock, horror). We debated Skirt Man a bit and talked about snotty v frivolous book groups (we have both round here – but another time for that). Had a diversion from that into things scatological (ie the ‘shitting beach’ in the rather good novel A Damn Big Puzzler by John Harding – highly recommended). And from there launched into tales of embarrassment. I was feeling a bit compromised as Debbie, who runs the village shop, had told me that our new neighbours had said they’d ‘seen me at the window’. This came as a surprise as I didn’t think anyone, however keen their sight, could see into our windows – high up on our hill.

So, yesterday as I drove home from the shop I made a special note of looking up as I went past their house. And there, in the window of our bedroom, was Adrian – small, far-off but clear as day. It was dark, the blinds were down and yes, I could see him. Which made me think and which made me turn bright red. I’m in the habit of stripping off and wandering around our bedroom stark naked in the sure certainty that nobody could see in…. Flippin’ heck, I’ve only just met these people and already they’ve seen me in the nip!

So I shared this and then Vicky said, ‘I can go better than that – in fact three times over.’ And she proceeded to tell about the time when she was pregnant with her son, Joe, and had heard that you could hear the baby’s heartbeat with a length of tubing. So she was sitting by the fire with a length of Hoover tube on her vast belly (as you do) when in came the man from BT. He didn’t stop to hear her explanations but fled for the door. This was swiftly followed by the tale of the time she went down late one night to let in her teenage daughter, secure in the knowledge she never brought anyone home to their remote farmhouse. Only this time, as she dozily opened the door, stark naked, she registered a look of horror on her daughter’s face and saw the form of a gangly boy behind her, his eyes popping wide open at the sight of Vicky’s assets!

But the story that capped it all was the time she and her husband had decided to indulge in a little bit of afternoon delight in their bedroom. Vicky’s farmhouse is very old and very low-slung and when the lorry driver pulled up outside, he had a clear view right in to their bed! Vicky said it was bad enough for her, but it was her husband who had to go down and sort out the delivery..

At this point my table decoration went up in flames and caused a bit of a diversion.

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