I remember a few years ago when we were asked round for dinner with friends. I was a bit tired, looking forward to a delicious meal – she was a professional cook before her retirement, has written books and everything – and rather wanting to be entertained, not particularly sparkly. When we arrived, we found that a couple who had recently moved to the village were there, looking a bit shy. We had met before, didn’t know each other very well, our friends were being kind and helping them spread their social wings.
After greetings, our hostess vanished to the kitchen and soon a silence fell. Then I became aware that several hopeful pairs of eyes were upon me. Evidently, Z was expected to perform – not literally, dear hearts, I don’t, but to start a conversation at the least. So I took a swig of gin, put on my brightest smile and launched into animated evening mode, and it all went swimmingly, they just wanted a start. But I realised afterwards that they had probably assumed that it had been the alcohol. I don’t need alcohol to have fun, though. It all depends on the company.