Rocksey and I were invited to a Soiree. The invitation transpired from when we went out for Christmas drinks with the Spanish class gang. Now Rocksey and I , being different levels of fluency, are in separate classes but I go along to his party and he comes to mine. Having the same teacher helps with the fluidity between classes and over the years we have found that we get double the fun by attending all parties!
So last week it was Rockseys class dinner at an Italian Restaurant in the centre of town. Upstairs there was an office Christmas party in full swing and downstairs where we were a smattering of smaller parties enjoying a more sedate evening. The evening went well, the red wine flowed, the chavvy girls from the party upstairs ebbed and flowed around us as we conversed in Spanish with the Albanian owner of the Italian restaurant. Now Rocksey is the only man in his class and , so he believes, the only one leading a charmed life. However, one of the other women in the class also has lived a charmed life and at 61 and several marriages has climbed to an enviable position of being Lady of the Manor of a very pretty village wihtin the County. Now there are responsibilities that come with buying the village Manor. Not only does the title of Lord come with the property the Manor house would have historically held parties for the villagers at key times of the year, Easter, May Day and of course, Christmas.
Veronika and husband Pieter bought the Manor House several years ago and not being ‘native’ villagers have worked hard to ensure that that they deliver the expectations of the villagers despite actually being of Polish origin which may have historically made them workers rather than the lords of the Manor. Pieter still looks like he should be the gardener athough you would never, in a million years, mistake Veronika for anything other than the Lady of the house.
So after several geneous glasses of Screaming Eagle, Veronika is in a benevolent mood. She likes Rocksey – possibly because she was once the muse of Keith Richards – and still enjoys the rock chick vibe – she engages him in conversation as to the dilemma she has that she and Pieter have to hold a Soiree for the villagers next Saturday evening – a total of around 80 people. Theres just not enough interesting people coming – she waved the glass at Rocksey, – what I need is someone to stir these country folk up a bit. Rocksey looked at her blankly. He had had a few glasses of JD at this stage but hadn’t quite got what Veronika was getting at. She tried again – What I need is a bit of entertainment – do you still do an acoustic set? Ahhhh the lightbulb goes on in Rockseys head. Yes he nods enthusiastically, can I dress up as a waiter too?
This Saturday evening sees us pulling up outside the grandest house I have ever seen. Its been snowing all day and the driveway is magical with fairy lights twinkling in every tree and shrub. Senor Pinguino is beside hiself with excitement, Jack Bennett feigns coolness and Mr Lucky sprays Gold Spot in the anticipation of getting himself a Polish Princess for the evening. Suky, Saf and I are dressed to kill in the finest LBD’s we have in our wardrobes. Suky has the highest heels on , luckily between the driveway and the house entrance is an actual red carpet to stop the guests from slipping around
Pieter himself is doing the Meet and Greet. He is a bear of a man , self made milionaire (or Billionaire now….I’m not sure) and dressed in a Chanel Tux does not look like the gardener this evening! ‘ Dobry Wieczor ‘ – we all get 3 kisses and the obligatory kiss on the hand on bended knee for us ‘ladies’. We enter the biggest hall I have seen outside of a hotel, all wood panelling with a huge fir tree in the corner decked out with thousands of fairy lights. A harpest plays some twinkly music and we wander into one of the reception rooms to be met by our hostess who has the most elegant Valentino gown on and looks absolutely stunning. She kisses Rocksey warmly, greets the rest of the guys and ushers a waiter over to us with champagne and canapés. Are you sure you want to play waiter? she teases Rocksey. Yes sure he smiles, grabs a bottle of champagne from the waiter and waltzes off, dashing in his Armani suit. The guys go off with Veronika to set up in another room and we three wander out on to the terrace where it has started to snow lighty and another waiter hands us a pashmina each ‘ in case we get cold’
Oh this is the life sighs Suky. I laugh out loud. Suky and SP live the most outrageous rock n roll lifestyle and here she is now wanting to be the lady of the manor. Not enough money says Saf – we couldn’t ever dream of this.!
We go back in the house. The villagers have turned up and although there are plenty of ordinary folk around, the village is a very well to do enclave and there are several other couples who probably could give Pieter and Veronika a run for their money.
I spot Rocksey in the crowd, flirting outrageously with a gaggle of country matrons who may have possibly recognised him ( or not, Rocksey loves to flirt). Mr Lucky is engaged in conversation with a very beautiful young woman, Jack has found Saf and the pair of them lean against each other looking impossibly cool. SP and Suky are chatting to Pieter ( I learn later they got invited to spend a few weeks in St Tropez at P and V’s villa or yacht or both who knows for sure)! I flit around enjoying both the ambience as well as the novelty of anonymity admiring everything about Veronikas impeccable taste and storing ideas in my head as to how I can decorate Rocksey Towers this season.
A buffet is served and then Veronika introduces the band who launch into an acoustic set of classic Christmas songs and joined by the harpest and the local church choir for a rendition of The Snowman. It is beautiful and nothing that I had expected. Veronika and Pieter get the guests dancing to Fairy tale of New York and Suky, Saf and I fuelled by copious amounts of Champagne finish the evening off with our version of Christmas Wrapping by the Waitresses.
The evening has been a great success apart from Mr Lucky’s whose Polish Princesses Prince Charming roared up in his Ferrari at midnight. The villagers go off happy with their presents of Estate produced turkeys and ducks. We stay on for a nighcap and then make our way into the night. Veronika slips something into Rockseys coat pocket murmers something in incomprensible Polish in his ear and waves us off.
Sunday morning I find a crumpled £10 note in Rockseys pocket. I wave it at him when he emerges from the shower. Payment for my excellent waitering skills he grins. I am glad to know if the record company ever drops the band we won’t starve!