Z spends time with the Sage

I’m way behind in correspondence, so if I owe you a letter, please accept my apologies.  In some cases it’s beyond the point of rudeness and I must catch up tomorrow morning.  I blame it on the weather – well, you’ve got to have something to blame.  To save heating the study, and it really does seem wasteful to this frugal Z to heat this whole big house for two of us, I moved my computer into the drawing room for the winter and only moved it back a few days ago – as a result, in the evening I have to choose between sitting with my husband or catching up on what the day hasn’t left time for.

Of course, it helps when I can’t sleep at all, as then I can write emails on my phone in the small hours, but my old eyes are getting too tired for that sort of thing.

The Sage being carless, he needed a chauffeuse and it was lucky I had a free day so no juggling was required.  It was nice, in the pleasant sense – I drove him over to Attleborough to do an appraisal for possible future sale of some china. On the way home we stopped for lunch at the village pub at Hempnall.  We went marvellously retro with scampi and chips in a basket.  When we got home, I took Ben for a run on the marshes.  A friend came by with her dogs and Harvey, a pale yellow labrador, was as keen as splashing in the water as Ben is and they had a great time.  Then I took the Sage to Southwold to fetch the catalogues for his sale in June.  More about that another day.

We’re up to 16 for Sunday lunch, which is a lot less effort than it sounds.  It’s just a case of preparing more vegetables.  And borrowing another table, but I’ll take the wheelbarrow to the church for a folding one, assuming I get permission to do so (I will).  I’ve bought a big joint of pork and will make a triple-sized pud.  Do you remember the ’80s when we all cooked elaborate dinner parties?  And the ’60s come to that – I remember my mother making everything from scratch, mincing liver two or three times for a pâté and so on.  It’s simpler now on the whole – well, it is in this house, especially for Sunday lunch.

In fact, the shorter the notice and the more people turn up, the simpler it is.  I mean, if you invite two or four people a couple of weeks in advance and at least some of them are excellent cooks, it takes a lot of self-confidence not to feel the pressure to do something elaborate (I’m old enough not to care, mind you, most of the time).  But if some people drop in during the afternoon and you feel drawn to ask them to stay on, it’s pot luck.  Frankly, they’ll be impressed with being fed at all and if it’s reasonably tasty they’ll be more than happy.  And if you run out of plates and someone eats out of a frying pan, that doesn’t really matter either.

On the other hand, having set the date for the blog party several months in advance, a plea of not enough time to plan is not going to hold water.  The only thing I know is, it won’t be a barbecue.  I’ve learned that lesson.  

8 comments on “Z spends time with the Sage

  1. Mike and Ann

    We still do dinner parties for six (it’s a small house) two or three times a year. Lunches more frequently. Tend to stick to tried and tested recipes (sometimes altered or jazzed up a bit). In the past we’d warn friends if they were to be experimented on. Ann ALWAYS does the cooking for guests. My jobs are setting the table, providing and serving the wine, and nipping into town for any last minute needs. Oh, and any spare dogsbody duties.
    P.s. Eight at a push.

  2. Z

    I think six or eight at a push is best for chatting to everyone, you can have a whole-table conversation then.

    Rog, the thought occurred to me and I kept an eye open for TTs and PBGVs, but I think business was still taking place in your hall.

  3. mountainear

    More guests are fun – they largely entertain themselves and while quantities increase it’s no harder to organise. Thank goodness the days of ‘dinner parties’ have passed ….. Well, in our house they have!

  4. Z

    In the sense I think you mean it, yes those days have passed – though the nuances of calling it dinner party, supper party or simply dinner are a bit beyond me too, now. If guests feel free to come and chat in the kitchen while I cook – as they do – then it’s probably not a formal dinner!

  5. Liz

    I prefer to have guests at lunchtime; my enthusiasm for cooking seems to lessen as the day goes on.

    The image of you transporting a table by wheelbarrow will live with me for a long time.

  6. savannah

    we seem to be doing foursomes these days for dinner, but i agree with you about bigger parties being easier to do. maybe it’s the menus we choose or just the casualness of it that makes it seem such a breeze? xoxoxoxo

  7. Z

    Um yes, I did just that. I had no idea I was making myself into a figure of fun – evidently I’ve lived with the Sage too long.

    Foursomes tend to be when people drop in and are asked to stay and take pot luck – but it’s nice and friendly. I’m pretty well ready for tomorrow, just have to tell the Sage to put the joint in the oven at a time yet to be worked out. Good food doesn’t have to be complicated and it’s the company that matters most anyway.


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