Sunday, 13 November 2016
The country dinner-party
That's me, dressed to dine in a country house in Plumpton, a Sussex village not far away from my own. Two evenings ago. It was in fact one of those 'pop-up restaurants' - a temporary restaurant for one night only - which Sue's friend Glenda (whom I'd already met twice previously) had organised. She did the cooking - a selection of Indian starters, to consume with our aperitifs; a series of hot Indian dishes at the table, with the wine that everyone had brought along; and a yummy dessert. There were also liqueurs to finish with, 'on the house'. Her husband John and a young local woman she knew (whose name I didn't catch) served us all.
Here's a general view of everyone (apart from myself) sat down and ready to go:
The vacant chair was mine. There were four couples, two of whom (Jo and Clive, Sue and Dave) I already knew, and two (Lesley and Mark, Georgie and Kim) I had never met before. There were two women on their own (myself; and Jo's friend Jean, whose husband had a cold and had gallantly insisted that she attend). I had Jo on my right, Mark (a senior international commercial law solicitor) on my left, and I faced Mark's wife Lesley. Both Mark and Lesley were very likeable, and very easy to talk to, and we got on well. The long table prevented easy conversation with more distant couples, but I expect we will all meet again sometime, so that doesn't matter.
The table theme was red and gold, with Indian design details, as reflected in the place-mats in the pictures that follow. I didn't take a picture of every course as it arrived - in fact I thought it inappropriate to be snapping away at everything - but here's the very little that I did shoot, in the order of serving. You'll have to excuse the yellow colour-cast, which is almost inevitable with subdued domestic lighting and candles:
The food (and drink) was all nicely-presented, perfectly cooked, very tasty, and (despite personal restraint) highly filling! Glenda had asked for £25 per head. We all agreed that the meal she provided was well worth that.
'What about your Slimming World weight-loss regime?' you might ask. Hmm! A good question! Well, this was an evening that just had to be written off. There was no way one could have been there and kept to plan.
The day after, I made a stab at assessing what syn point value all the food and drink might have had, and (on a best-guess basis) came up with more than 80 points. But it wouldn't have made much difference whether the accurate amount was 45 or 105 - I vastly exceeded the maximum daily allowance of 15. All you can do is move forward, forget the transgression, and don't make a regular habit of eating on this scale! (The following day, at home, my synning amounted to only 7 points)
And what did people wear? The men were mostly in expensive shirts and casual trousers and shoes, classic smart-casual stuff. The ladies wore mostly the kind of outfit that expands unobtrusively and stays comfortable. I was possibly a little too formally dressed (black flat shoes, black tights, a 'metallic' silver-gold high-necked half-sleeved dress), but I didn't feel over the top. To combat the cold night air, I also had a grey scarf with large white feathers on it, and the posher of my two Windsmoor coats. Plus the black Prada handbag of course. Some pictures will make it all clear:
There are subtle signs - I assure you - that the SW weight-loss regime is already having an effect, but I'm afraid that dress, bought two or three years ago when I wasn't carrying so much heft, accentuated my tummy far too much. But the fabric was quite classy; and besides, having got into it, I had no time left to change my mind before leaving the house. By the way, I wasn't driving. Jo's husband Clive was, as he's a notably light drinker. So for once I could be a bit more easy-going on my own consumption. Not that I wanted to drink a lot; and in any case, I needed to be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed for the next day, when I was going up to London to see my nephew and his family. (That may be the subject of another post)