J and I went to a dinner party on Saturday night. It was Mike and Lesley’s Xmas party and it was a terrific evening – starting at 7.30pm and finishing at 2am!
They do entertain well but both of them having spent many years in sales and marketing, they know how to do things beautifully. The house was very festive and a huge log fire was burning. There was copious amounts of wine and they served a delicious dinner – spicy parsnip soup followed by lamb shank, cheese and dessert.
They’d planned on ten guests but four people who had been invited but who couldn’t come because they were flying out for Xmas had their travel plans curtailed by the weather and called to see if they could still come along, so Mike and Lesley had to scramble around trying to find another four lamb shanks at virtually a moment’s notice. They did wonders.
The real highlight of the evening though was their Secret Santa game. Now many of you will have participated in this game at Xmas (where each person present picks a name out of a hat and provides an anonymous present – the giver knows who they are giving to but the recipient should have no idea who has provided their present), but Mike and Lesley do it a little differently.
Their version of the game has everybody who attends providing an anonymous present (low value and fun is the criteria) with the host and hostess providing quite a few extra, so in this case with fourteen guests and the few extra presents, there were about thirty parcels on the table.
You need two sets of playing cards with the first set being dealt out around the table in turn so some people had three cards with a few guests getting four. A person is chosen and their job is to take the second set of cards and turn over each card in turn. The person at the table who has the identical card in their hand from the first set of cards is then allowed to choose a present.
Inevitably, all the presents are claimed before the second set of cards are finished and as the final cards are turned over, people with a matching card are then allowed to choose a present already picked by another guest and this is where the real fun starts.
Human nature being what it is, the largest parcels are usually picked first but of course, it could be anything, as last night there were a few toilet rolls ingeniously disguised!
Being an unlucky sort of person, when my cards eventually matched those being drawn by Sandie, all the gifts had gone so I chose a couple of people and took theirs, much to their annoyance, but this tactic did not go unnoticed by the other guests still to claim parcels and by the end of the game, I was left with a single, small package – which turned out to be a pocket telephone note book! My big presents had gone!
It was a great way to end dinner – there was an edible bra, a couple of toilet rolls, an oven glove, a silly hat and so on.
And the final surprise of the evening – I was able to drive home. I had been a good boy. For once!