Yesterday I had my annual bash for locals. This is my third such social since I moved to the coast. I come from a sociable family and all my life recall parties – dinner and cocktail – given by my mother a highly competent hostess. I try to emulate her by getting the basics right of good food and wine, warm welcome, capable caterers and waitresses but there is always the one ingredient you cannot predict – atmosphere. Of the three I have given I thought yesterday’s had the least atmosphere. Diffcult to say why: the weather was glorious and we could stay in the garden. If anything it was too hot and I was relieved to go indoors to take some shade. The canapés were well received for their tastiness, the prosecco flowed. Perhaps because 4 of the 30 guests did not turn up on the day I was light on numbers and with the heat and being on their feet guests were pleased to sit rather stand. This makes the party by definition sedentary.
After the party, an actress I have known for many years , her new boyfriend who sells and build bridges around the world and with whom I had the most fascinating conversation on international commerce, little Jamie who bless him is not so little these days and his mother went for a meal. It was still sunny enough to sit outside. In some ways I enjoyed this more than the party. It was an opportunity to relax over the inevitable post mortem. The businessman boyfriend entertained us on how the DTI gave “assistance” to international traders. This included in Columbia a wedge you jam into the door to prevent kidnappers opening it. We laughed as we thought this would scarcely deter the committed kidnapper. You also have to answer a questionnaire to assess your ethical standing. One question is how you would react to being asked for money at gunpoint by a soldier or military official. The businessman said he woud hand his money over and received a mild reproach. As he said he would like to see what some civil servant from Victoria St would do when so confronted in the Third World. It made me think that government and business are not the happiest of bedfellows.