Friday, 28 December 2012

Dinner with the Crouches

A bog post that is hideously late and written just a smidgeon drunk. Business as usual then.

Today was a terribly slow day until I remembered that I had a standing invitation to dinner with some excellent friends of mine. I hope they won't mind if I drop their name, but dinner was so marvelous, the coffee so excellent and the cheese so cheesy that I can only hope they forgive me.

The Crouches, a family that I have known for around six years now, are absolutely delightful people. They are, every one of them, exactly the sort of people you want at your dinner party, regardless of time, location, or in fact dinner - they are faultless guests and peerless hosts.

I took a bottle of champagne to dinner with me and walked from the station to their house, despite the proffered offer. A mere six months ago I would have seized that offer greedily, but a combination of a gorgeous night - have you seen the moon! - and the unsettling little Buddha-belly I've developed over the Christmas season encouraged me to walk the mile or so to their house. It is a sweet little three storey house and suits its occupants perfectly.

This evening I was wearing a novel little necktie knot, the method of which Francis - the man of the house - has asked that I show him. I shall try to do a video tomorrow showing how to do it, making this blog truly multimedia. It will also be exclusive to this blog, if I can make it so, because I think if you're kind enough to read my little blog I should like to give you a first look at anything I do.

In any case, Sheila - Francis' wife - whipped up a "bold" minestrone and we retired for fizz, awaiting the return of Lydia. I should explain at this point, since I have been quite honest in this blog, that Lydia and I once stepped out together, a very, very long time ago. We were younger and far more foolish, and while I am yet to break these habits,  she has got herself settled with an extremely sensible and intelligent young man, whose father was my old English master. A small world, but a lovely chap.

Dinner was splendid, the wine was delicious and apparently endless, and the cheese smelt like feet and France. A deep breath was all it took to transport me back. Two was enough to put me on my back. We finished with coffee and, as always, I left with a list of books in my pocket, all of which had been cheerfully commended to me as the best thing since sliced pineapple.

If you don't think sliced pineapple is all that, try eating a pineapple like you'd eat an apple.

I would like to point out that she is  not entirely out of these habits; she is rather keen (at the moment) on jetting off to faraway places and experiencing new things which is quite unfair, because all I get out of it is the old emotion of jealousy. And really, aren't everyone's experiences directed at improving my life?

In any case; she is charming and beautiful and quite happy to tell one that one is uncouth, even if all one is doing is tapping the table with one's nails. In any case, she will go far, even if she is doing a philosophy degree (jobs for philosophers have been thin on the ground in the UK since the recent closure of the big philosophy factory in Dulwich).

There is also a younger sister, but I confess I have not seen her in at least two years now. She may be as charming as her mother, as beautiful as her sister, or as funny as her father. Or she may have three ears. I have not the first idea.

I rather hope all four, because imagine what a conversation starter that would be. And with those qualities, a start is all she would need to carry the night.

I know it's unlikely. But wouldn't it be great?

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