Saturday, December 26, 2015

we dare not entertain

The done thing in rural Gloucestershire, where Scottish Husband had settled down before he moved to Ireland, is to have one's friends and neighbours around for Christmas or New Year. Drinks 6-8 is the formula for the invitation: a restrained occasion involving delicate canapés and mutual admiration of lawns and distant royal connections.

[Jane Ray, from the Guardian]

He asks me whether we should host the same sort of event here in the Pretty Far West. Unhesitatingly, I shoot the idea down. Our friends and neighbours would have no truck with Drinks 6-8. They would arrive whenever it suited them, leave in February, if then, and wonder why we were being so glaringly parsimonious as to limit drinks to only 6 to 8 per person.  

36 comments:

  1. I just read this out to P. He said how much he agrees with you. I couldn't get him to say much more except "fuck that, 6 to 8, fuck me, the tight bastards".

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    1. How wise he is, Rachel. He is probably secretly Dylan Thomas.

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  2. We pull out the corks and throw them into the blazing log fire, such is our largesse. Was that card from you, Mise? I think it was and so thank you!

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    1. Would that it had been me, Tom; Christmas came upon me like an express-train this year and I didn't send you a card. There was also the underlying fear of my handwriting not bearing comparison with Jacqueline's.

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    2. It wasn't me either, I prepared some drawings for you and then ripped them up and threw them away one night when we had bad words between us in a comment. My handwriting was poor too and I was ashamed.

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    3. Poor Jacqueline, to have to bear this weight of setting the handwriting bar so high. Bad words must never come between you and me, Rachel.

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    4. Once you're friends with me i'm afraid you're stuck with me for life.

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    5. OMG - It must have been from Heron then. It was in Irish, for Irish. It may have contained a hex, but I would be more worried if it came from Rachel.

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  3. Can you ask Scottish husband if he knows who invented the formula ..... and is one allowed to talk about one's holiday last Summer, where we swam with pigs in Exuma Kay ? ..... I need to know in case anyone in Gloucestershire invites me round !!
    Hope your Christmas was lovely and that Blue and Pink daughters got everything that they asked for.
    Happy 2016 Mise. XXXX

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    1. Everyone in Gloucestershire invites you around, Jacqueline, surely. And swimming with pigs is worth recounting for the full two hours.

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  4. Dear Mise, Wise decision!It scares me to think of the sodden neighbors at your lovely home for days on end!! All the best to you and yours this Holiday Season and all the best in 2016!


    xoxo
    Karena
    The Arts by Karena
    The Reason for the Season!

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    1. Neighbours, if you are reading this, dear Karena doesn't mean you, and I know you will join me in wishing her all the very best for the year of hope ahead.

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  5. Ah, Your friends and neighbors must have previously lived here. Drinks 6 - 8 sounds like little more than a handshaking opportunity rather than a glorious celebration.

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    1. Well put, Louise. Two hours is more of a détente than a shindig.

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  6. Depends how much you like the neighbours, I guess. Personally two hours seems overgenerous... Wise not to go there, Mise!

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    1. If only one could have the virtual neighbours around, dear Marianne.

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  7. Personally I think you should give it a go. Your canapés couldn't fail to impress in their delicateness and think of all the stories you'd have to tell!

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    1. This is the very same Can Do spirit that has vanquished the squirrel, dear Jessica, or the mouse, or the slug. Some dangerous creature of the wild anyhow, over at your place. I hope I can rise to your example.

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  8. 6-8 drinks each would hold no truck with my gang either, but maybe 6-8 drinks each between 6-8 may be ok.....ish?

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    1. To be fair, Niki, there would be the alcoholic fruit punch as well as the 6-8 quota.

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  9. They're very classy in Gloucestershire so I've heard. I cannot imagine anyone I know leaving after only two hours of restrained drinking. Are you sure this is actually happening somewhere? I'm starting to feel anxious that I'm even lower than I thought I was.

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    1. "6-9 or bust" is what I always tell them, CJ. I would be thrilled and honoured if you were to join me in taking this firm stance. It is unimaginable that anyone would ever want you to leave.

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  10. Happy Christmas Mise.
    What is two hours between friends? Not enough clearly.
    I know I would hate leaving your place so soon.
    Happy New Year
    Helen xx

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    1. You must at least stay till the paint dries, dear Helen; we have plenty of beautiful views here to persuade you to linger by your easel.

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  11. Once during the last century I was the proud recipient of a stiff white card bearing the embossed words At Home.
    I put it on our mantlepiece because I wasn't raised in a barn and on the appointed day we dolled ourselves up and rushed off full of excitement for the 6pm start. Tiny dry canapes were circulating and lukewarm white wine carefully poured. I thought it was a prequel to something more and paced myself accordingly. The hostess became restive at about 8.15 and I noticed that new people were arriving - for a dinner - to which we had not apparently been invited. I found myself on the pavement, in the rain, hungry and shivering, in my crimson lace dress at 8.45 precisely. The dress went to the charity shop the next morning.

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    1. The utter meanies, Lucille. All embossed words and no common conviviality. No occasion is an occasion without hearty pie for all.

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  12. Mise, it's interesting to learn a bit more about how celebrating is done in different postal codes. Same thing over here, about some places adhering to strict formulas. Is it sort of a tribal thing that's developed over the years?

    May every hour of the New Year treat you and yours very well. xo

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  13. Banóstach!
    The very idea of attending a soiree here in Ireland and arriving at the given time is totally absurd and to set a time limit on my visit is an insult in its self. I might restrain from getting falling down drunk, I will though expect my thirst to be sated and my hunger satisfied; my departure will most likely be at a time when the Garda have removed their roadblocks leaving me to quietly wobble home....
    Athbhliain faoi Mhaise Duit

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  14. I wish the reply button would work today, but it doesn't. Thank you, Frances, and I hope you are well rested after producing your lovely tea-cups.

    Bliain nua faoi mhaise dhuit féin, Heron. Más ar rothar a bheidh tú, bíodh soilse air.

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  15. Dear Mise, happy birthday to you! Of course I remembered that date...
    As to the invitations: I thought: " 6 - 8 drinks per person? Quite a lot...On the other hand - depends on the time spent..."
    It sounds a bit like the invitations of my almost-posh friend Hyacinth Bucket's "Book of Etiquette - For the Socially Less Fortunate" - remember: "A stiff white cardboard italic printed invitation is the harbinger of a gastronomic and social event that is just too perfect to turn down."
    (Maybe our attempt at pink might be thought a bit capriccioso?)
    I wish you a wonderful next new year! Britta xxx

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    1. Thank you, Britta. Please consider yourself invited in italics to Ireland for a gala cocktail at your convenience.

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    2. Thank you, Mise! I'll bring my little black dress and stay only from 6 - 8.... :-)

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  16. Hello Mise and Greetings from the Really Far West!
    Loved seeing a post from you again and nothing like a good, wryly humorous, socially acute Mise post to start off the New Year!
    Best wishes to you and your family for a Happy and Peaceful New Year,
    Diane in frigid but sunny
    Denver, Colorado USA

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  17. Haha, I completely agree! Sometimes people don't know 'the done thing' and they just hang around for hours, long past their welcome!

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  18. When we lived on the Main Line in Pennsylvania we received such invitations, and experienced the mortification of another reader, when we realised that there was dinner, to which we most certainly hadn't been invited.
    Over here an invitation to drinks will promise somewhat more than warmish wine and dry canapes - and the best party is the one that starts two hours in, when the hostess kicks off her shoes and everyone sits with a fresh drink for an evening of snacking and chatting.
    I'm visiting via Britta's blog - and hoping that you'll write a little more.

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  19. My mother had a friend who started taking people's glasses from them and turning off lights when he'd had enough of his own parties. Shunning them in the first place is likely a kinder idea. You are always so wise, dear Mise.

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You're looking particularly well.

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