Now I was going to change the names in this post to protect the ‘innocent’ but I can’t be bothered and I was also going to say up front that I’ve got nothing against the Germans, and I don’t, some of my best mates are Germans, that right Eddie Molloy and Harry McIntosh?
Anyway, our friend Wendy has just taken up with a new man (a German – Rheiner) who happens to be her neighbour and after a respectable period of a few months, they felt it was time to have a joint ‘do’ so they could meet each other’s friends. Amazingly, despite my ability to be banned from these things, we were invited, and Cindy, J’s sister came along as well.
Knowing where Wendy lives, we assumed the next door drive was Rheiner’s but we crept up it in the car quite tentatively just in case it wasn’t. Just as we reached the top of the drive, this guy in a camouflage top jumped out in front of us and demanded I turn the car round (you vill turn zee car round) which I did. I assumed we were in the right place given the German accent. As J and Cindy got out of the car, Mr Camouflage man grabbed their hands and smothered them in kisses (the hands). He then grabbed mine but I managed to pull it away just as his lips puckered. Good start I thought – nice of the host to meet us, but in fact Mr Camouflage man was called Cornell (?) and he was merely the parking attendant.
The action was obviously down by the pool side as that’s where the noise was coming from and that’s where we were introduced to Rheiner, a very suave, well-dressed, handsome man (J’s words not mine – Cindy couldn’t utter anything as her tongue was on the floor) and he was very gracious in welcoming us to his party.
As soon as I’d had a couple of drinks and cigarettes I started my rounds. The first guys to meet were the two bar boys who had also been hired for the evening (there were 6 staff in all to look after 30 guests), Freddie and Richard. A good chat with them and I ensured that for the rest of the evening neither my glass nor Cindy or J’s would be empty – and they weren’t.
Then it was off to meet a guy with a pony tail – another Rheiner. After a few seconds chat I asked him if he had any English blood in him because I said he had a sort of English aristocratic face. ‘Zat eez because I am aristocratic. I am a Baron. I am Baron von Schiltzellhammer (or something like that) and I am also related to zee Howards in England and zis eez my Russian wife’. I’m glad he said that because I was on the point of saying to him that it was very thoughtful of him to bring his granddaughter to the party!
Next, it was a guy propping up the bar. ‘I’m Tom, who are you?’ I asked. ‘My name eez Wolfgang and I am Rheiner’s mechanic from Frankfurt.’ ‘Ah – ok – so does Rheiner have a few cars then?’ ‘He az a fleet of military vehicles and I fly down to maintain zem.’ Mmm – OK I thought – could they be panzers perhaps! You never know.
Thereafter, we had a great night. Cindy was determined to meet a real-life Baron (he was a really nice guy), Julie was determined to try and extract money for her Kenya project from some glam-babe who organizes yachts, Ferraris and jets for the hoi-polloy, and I was picked on by a blonde who asked for a cigarette and then informed me that her husband had walked out on her two months ago and as her house was in the wilderness on the other side of the valley (“I’m the white house straight across from yours”) – she was finding it ‘very lonely.’ Hmm.
I managed to get Rheiner to show me his vehicles which turned out to be Jeeps (like those in Mash) and as we were coming back down to the poolside, a small plane was circling slowly overhead. ‘What do you think that is?’ he asked. I thought of saying, ‘a Spitfire’ but I didn’t and said it was probably someone looking for a desirable property to buy (which is what they do). ‘Vy don’t zey go to zee estate agents like everybody else’, was his reply!
After a sit-down dinner with no sauerkraut in sight thank goodness, it was time for the line dancing – again bought in to entertain the guests and yours truly was ‘encouraged’ to join in. Thankfully, I managed to get a spot at the back beside the bar where Freddie and Richard kept me ‘refreshed’ , but I did notice that when the line dancing was announced, quite a few of the guests disappeared to get changed – into what looked like jackboots!
Thereafter, the parties split with the Brits huddled on one side, and the Germans on the other and who, as normal, outnumbered us by a factor of four to one, glugging wine like it was going out of fashion. I wanted to sit on a lounger by the pool but they were all covered with towels! What was that all about?
There was talk of submarines (not U-boats) in the pool and torpedoes hitting the pool-house. There was talk of the bridge blown up by the allies so the Germans couldn’t enter the area during the war but here they were – how did they manage it? It was all alcohol fuelled silliness.
In the end though, given that we thought we’d go for an hour just to ‘show our faces and support Wendy’, we stayed for almost five, crawling home just into Sunday morning having had a great night.