Yesterday I gave a party for some 30 people I have met since moving to the South Coast some 9 months ago. Aside from reciprocating hospitality and cementing friendships, I had two other reasons for party giving. The first is that it’s a depressing time of the year and my late mother passed away 2 years ago this Wednesday. She was a considerable hostess and was never happier than when she was entertaining. My father, whose birthday would be tomorrow, was less sociable but, for that, probably enjoyed her grand dinner parties and more than kept up his end at the head of the table.
I did invite an actress friend beloved of my parents. She asked to stay over and, over several whisky sours being our favourite cocktails, had a post mortem on the party as well as remembering my beloved parents.
One thing I learned from my dear mother is that to make a party work and happen you have to put in so much work it’s entirely possible you do not enjoy it yourself. I got up very early, attended to the final removals of bits of furniture and was on hand when the caterers, who Polly sourced, arrived.
I decided to receive the guests in my living room with a nice sea view. Its compacted quality made for a lively atmosphere. Atmosphere is the elusive ingredient of any party. You cannot predict how guests will interract. From what I could judge, and the comments after, it all went well. Certainly the food was delicious. I also engaged a magican who staggered us all by writing on a clip board accurately the subject matter of three guests.
Alice Mansfield brought Ken Howard along and what a delightful man he is. 83 years now with longish white hair and Borsalino hat he cuts an artistic figure. He is a vivacious communicator which explains his success as much as his uplifting portrayal of light.
Not only did the caterers cook delicious canapes, they cleaned up and left the place spotless. There is nothing worse after you are tired from the party to force yourself to clear. As it was we headed off for whisky sours. She was recognised by a group and pleasantly agreed to have her picture taken with them. I said likely as not these will finish in Facebook and possibly attract adverse comment – however, as Oscar Wilde said, the only thing worse than being recognised is not being recognised.