OUR SOCIAL LIFE
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.