22 April 2016

Soirée

At the early evening birthday gathering, I looked around and realised that everybody there was old. The two young waitresses at the wine table were observing a gang of people who appeared to be but a few years away from becoming permanent residents in old folks' residential homes - "The Willows", "Shangri-La". "The Knacker's Yard".

Silver hair and silver-framed spectacles. Faces creases and etched. Mostly retired people with investments. Home owners in comfortable shoes and decent apparel. People who could remember the sixties and "Look and Learn" and "Spangles". And I was one of them.
Like most cities, the city of Sheffield is a place with extremes. There's poverty here and citizens who wonder where their next meal is coming from or how they will pay the electricity bill. In contrast, there are fabulously rich people who live in secluded mansions with swimming pools and send their kids to private schools. And then  there are the in-between people - like those at the birthday gathering. People who reside comfortably in the south western suburbs. People like me.

I have never much enjoyed parties or large social gatherings. I would rather talk with one or two people than a milling crowd. But sometimes you just have to do it when duty calls.  Frankly, it would have been nicer to be back on top of Pike Lowe, sitting alone on an old rock, admiring the view and the silence. However, I got through it. I didn't spill my complimentary glass of wine, my flyhole was zipped up and my shirt was tucked in. Shirley was not embarrassed.

I even managed some polite small talk. I wonder if  there are evening classes you can attend in order to improve your polite small talk. Sign me up for the beginners' class! By the way I think I left one fellow quite gobsmacked when I asked if he was Peter Thompson's son. Peter was a geography teacher when I got a job in a south Sheffield school in 1980.Apparently, he is now eighty seven and still going strong but I had never met his sixty something son before. Talk about spitting images!

There was no food at the soirée so heading back up Ecclesall Road we ordered a takeaway curry meal from "Pippali" and had a beer in "The Banner Cross" before picking up our order. And very nice it was too - chicken bhuna, vegetable rice, ghobi aloo and chapattis. No time for polite small talk when scoffing such a feast.

13 comments:

  1. Such evening classes do indeed exist, but I wonder who actually goes there.
    Whether I enjoy social gatherings and milling crowds depends a lot on my mood: If I am in the right one, I can enjoy myself very much, sometimes getting "stuck" with one or two people all evening.
    In January, for instance, I met someone for the first time at a mutual friend's birthday party - we instantly clicked, have met up since and he's been at my birthday party, too.
    But... no food at all at the soirée? That sounds like a host who was either inexperienced in hosting such gatherings or a bit on the stingy side.

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    1. Yes, maybe. Not even any nibbles.

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  2. Was it your birthday, YP?

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    1. Hell no. I don't really celebrate my own birthdays. Maybe a nice meal out with the wife and that's it for me.

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  3. I'm pleased to hear you held your glass firmly and didn't spill a drop of its contents on you...or, more importantly...anyone else!

    Pray tell...was the soiree in celebration of Liz's birthday or your own? How strange no canapes of any kind were not on offer; not very kind at all!

    If it was your birthday, Yorkie...Happy Birthday to you.

    Small talk is difficult...and can be so very boring. I'm not a fan of it, either.

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    1. No. Not my birthday and though it was Her Imperial Majesty's birthday, that was purely co-incidental. No nibbles provided which was disappointing. I can't say any more about yesterday's birthday "girl" at this juncture.

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  4. I SO hope that I look so well at 90. Honestly, I really do not want to reach 90 at all, if truth be told. But, on the off chance that I do, I want to look just like the Queen. Of course, she has never been want for food or worked at a college and raised her children at the same time. Or, moved and changed homes and jobs and friends. Or, made a place for herself in the woods or split wood for warmth in the winter. But still, she is one grand and beautiful lady. Plus, I love her hats!!

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    1. Working at Oxfam, used hats like that often turn up for sale. Shall I buy you a couple? There might also be a bowler hat that would suit Big Bear. Trouble is the cost of shipping may be prohibitive.

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  5. Key term...early evening. Old people don't stay out late and go home early and to bed! Yes , they get up to pee after an hour!

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    1. Are you speaking from experience Red? You young buck!

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  6. Well, it wouldn't have hurt them to buy a few party size bags of crisps, would it?
    It's good to know that you didn't disgrace yourself or embarrass Shirley - you might get another invitation ! Not keen on these sorts of "do's" either.

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    1. It was a bit like visiting the dentist's.

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  7. Apropos your 'Thompson twins' observation, I was reading Lord Peston's obituary today and if you look at the photos of his younger self, you can surely tell that he is Robert Peston's father.

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