So we got our lights and heat, but we didn’t need them for the party. I decked the halls with fir branches, as the wood pigeons ate all the berries on our magnificent holly tree,added little silver and gold balls and beads, and lots of candles. The fireplace roared, silver glimmered in the candle light, and everyone looked wonderfully youthful and happy. Even, or rather, especially, our friend Ken, who is 94 and still has dinner parties at which he, himself, does the cooking, and his younger lady friend Rosie, who is 86.
The woman who owns The Lucky Duck, the tea room on Middle Street, is also a certified chef and caterer, and she did us proud. The pretty, smiling Thai woman who works for her served guests a constant stream of smoked salmon, rabbitt pate on rye, tiny yorkshire puddings with miniature slices of roast beef and a drop of horseradish sauce, melted red onions and goat cheese, lots of champagne and wines. Everyone walked from their homes in the village, so no one had to get behind the wheel.
First thing next morning we received our first Thank You card, and they poured in all day and the next. In this village, invitations and thank you notes are written out and dropped discreetly into your letter box. No one knocks and wants to chat, just slips them through and continues on their way. I find this very civilized and kind. It isn’t just mannerism and formality. Organizing a party, drinks or dinner, takes thought, preparation, time, and money. A tangible form of appreciation, like a card, is an acknowledgment that is has been worth it, old-fashioned though it may be. It seems to help the bonding process, the blending of disparate people into a community.
- More living without the Light