Monday, January 22, 2007



Story contd.

We decided to give a party.  We had made a lot of friends during our time in Altrincham and were also within reach of some old ones.  I stipulated that we had to have plenty of food and drink and that the room should be warm and welcoming.  We had been to one party recently where the fire got lower and lower and the guests got colder and colder (it was before central heating was the norm.)  William was to be responsible for the drink which would be beer, wine, cider and some soft drinks and I would do the food.

It wasn’t going to be dainty tit-bits on sticks, apart from some cheddar and pineapple bites, but bridge rolls with tasty fillings, sausage rolls and masses of trifle, fruit salad and cream.  Our cuisine was not very sophisticated in the fifties and my aim was to allay people’s hunger and mop up the alcohol.  I realised that to have a successful party, I, the hostess should sacrifice my evening and just look after everybody.  But when everybody had eaten and was sitting sipping on the floor in a happy haze, I relaxed and enjoyed the rest of the evening.  I got a kick out of bringing people from different areas of our lives together.

‘Bill meet Diana. Or did you meet at our wedding?  Oh no, of course we didn’t know you then.  Well you must be sure to come to the divorce!’

I remember saying this and I don’t know why I said it.  There was a nanosecond and then everyone laughed.

We were pleased that our joint effort had been successful.  Some time earlier we had been invited to a party the Jones were giving for their daughter Libby and it was a disaster as far as I was concerned.  He was one of William’s bosses and was tall with a craggy face and the debonair manner of a forties film star.  His wife, Bridie was small, plump with wild hair, full of fun and a captivating Irish brogue.  The two of them together were fantastic company but I felt a little sorry for Libby who was in her early twenties and over shadowed by her scintillating parents.

The other guests were mainly girl friends of Libby.  One of them stood out – Ruth - a gutsy, attractive, sturdy girl with dark curly hair and fresh colouring.  She was very animated and hit it off immediately with William who was probably the most attractive man there.  As the evening wore on they seemed to get more and more excited and I was feeling uncomfortable.  It as the sort of situation where Mum would have said,

‘There’ll be tears before bed-time!’

She was right.  When, finally, William drank some wine out of Ruth’s shoe I fled to the bath room and had a weep.  I was angry with myself for being such a wimp – maybe I had PMT, it wasn’t universally recognised then, but I felt hurt and lonely.  I understood why he did it and knew there was nothing serious behind it but I wished he could relax and not feel he had to prove something all the time.

We got over it and now we had had this successful party and in the summer we would go sailing again which always brought out the best in William Not in a flotilla this time and somewhere more adventurous than the Broads. I asked William when to ask for the time off and he said leave it for a while.  He was going to start applying for a new job.  He wanted to diversify and change the direction of his career towards research and that would probably mean a move down south so I would be leaving anyway.  It all sounded very exciting and I wondered where I would end up working. A thought struck me.

‘What about your mother?’

William said she would probably sell her house in Norfolk and buy an apartment somewhere near Wallace and Fleur, now they were settled in Hampshire.  I felt both relieved and guilty.  In any case it would be a fresh start and I’d still got babies to look forward to.


Zinnia Cyclamen said...

I think if Top Bloke ever drank wine out of anyone's shoe, I would probably flee to the bathroom to be sick - SUCH a revolting thought!

PI said...

Zinnia: well now I've developed a few more cojones - or whatever - but then it seemed to have romantic associations - drinking champagne out of someone's slipper - sort of thing. It was rather ridiculous but William tended to go OTT.

kenju said...

I'm with Zinnia!

PI said...

Judy: I don't blame you.

Lizzy said...

Bleurgh. Not only is it truly yucky, but completely thoughtless on William's part... I think I'd have been a lot more vociferous in my displeasure than you were Pat, so congratulations. I just hope that she had sweaty feet - serve him right!

PI said...

Lizzie: it wasn't the act so much as the association. I think it was in Victorian times when roues drank champagne out of great beauty's slippers,
"She is as pretty as a picture, has great charm and can dance like a million dollars.....we shall all be fighting to drink champagne out of her slippers!"
This was written about Nadia Nerina the great ballerina.
Also one doesn't make a scene ot your husband's bosses's party. My initial reactiion was tears but I'm fairly sure William didn't get away with it scot free. He never tried it again.

Sam, Problem-Child-Bride said...

"bridge rolls with tasty fillings, sausage rolls and masses of trifle, fruit salad and cream."

That sounds delicious. Party food nowadays is so finicky, in the eating and the preparation; that's why I like Nigella. She's fresh and suggests food you can get actually your teeth into. Party food is, as you say, more about creating a layer to mop up the booze, and no matter how fancy or how simple the gatherng I always feel a wee rush of "Yum!" if I see sausage rolls there, and a wee sigh of "Oh," if I don't.

Clearly Nadia Nerina's admirers knew nothing of the real state of a dancer's feet.

I think drinkng out of shoes must be something only a man would do.

Trifle. Mmmmmm.

PI said...

sam: with each decade party food has got more precious and chi chi. Them were the good old days in that sense. Actually I have always been quite proud of my trifle but son no 2 drools over my gooseberry fool.
I certainly wouldn't drink out of even a glass slipper but then there are a lot of things I wouldn't do. No mames no pack drill!

PI said...

That's names!

apprentice said...

I wondered what sort of party it was when my eye tripped over tit-bits, lol ;)!

I'm not warming to William! The divorce remark is intriguing, it must have really hit home for you to remember saying it all these years later.

PI said...

apprentice: it's not easy trying to give a balanced account - in the end you just have to trust your memory. Sometimes it's a blessing we can't remember what we said or did at a party.

drunk punk said...

flippin' eck. I go on shift n you write loads! wine out of a shoe? swill it around and pronounce a la Jilly "a hint of sweaty sock with a soupcon of toenail to add body" urgh

PI said...

dp: I bet she would use it too. She's used armpits!

Guyana-Gyal said...

Eww ewww eww, not even out of my shoe would I let anyone do that. The thing that amazes me too is that Ruth let him do it. boo to Ruth. That divorce remark was quite something...our subconscious knows before we do. Funny how we say things in advance not knowing that it IS the truth.

PI said...

GG: yes it's weird. Ruth BTW seemed to be having as much fun as William. They set each other off and both were very obviously over stimulated. rather like when kids have too much sugar - all a bit frenetic.
The funny thing is if she had made a pass at him he would have run a mile.

Anonymous said...

drinking wine from a slipper is romantic for a lady. It shows undying love and devotion and respect. The older the slipper, the more meaningful. Its not the taste, but the act that should be the focus

PI said...

thanks anon: at last somebody understands the concept.