Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Party Time

I was a ‘plus one’ for the HARPER COLLINS summer party – being reliably informed this was THE ONE to go to. Indeed it was – as thus far have not been acquainted with any other invite with the words ‘Summer’ or ‘Party’ It was to be held in the Orangery and since my invitation went to the wrong house number (I think this was an accident, but who knows?) - I assumed it was the Orangery where I had already been lucky enough to attend a book launch and a wedding ie a Posh greenhouse in Holland Park. So I buy high wedge shoes. I meet my friend. I insert wedge shoes on both feet at door and we are welcomed with a tumbler of elderflower cordial. (We could have had champagne but I am temporally off sauce and my friend doesn’t drink). A kind waitress offered to walk me to the lavvy which was right, right and right again – understandably I needed help given mild dyslexia but mostly due to the wedge shoes.
Quite high for a person used to wearing Scholl sandals or clogs
 and not a million miles from a cork notice board

When Diane timidly suggests the venue is smaller than last year, I say ‘Rubbish! This is The Orangery because I’ve been here before and anyway it says ‘Orangery’’.  Suddenly it dawned on us that the kind folk with shy smiles and gestures of middle class hospitality were not in fact members of the Harper Collins literati –i.e. no soft linen sports jackets and pashminas. Dianne firmly said ‘This isn’t the right party’. We panic. We then learn there is another Orangery in Kensington Palace. I reinstate my flip flops in order to walk to the road and hail a taxi. Our taxi driver is dripping. Diane suggests he lie on the grass in the nude to cool off.  He is polite. We now enter another Orangery - a hallowed party of proven wordsmiths, agents and others who have given their lives to the infrastructure of publishing and its testing demands. Did I say I am not drinking? (A temporary pause as I inch my way down to a normal size.) This means I can not slide into a alcohol fused banter where no one minds what one says because one looks glazed and benign. I am shocked to discover that for the first time in twenty years I am almost tongue tied. Had a good exchange with Nick Cohen – who sadly absented himself for a fag. And even though I had a catch up with Tracy Chevalier who has been fellow judge (darling), when I encountered Jonathon Lloyd (Curtis Brown literati and scribe) in a group he also left to circulate. My presence is causing a departure of guests – it’s now happened TWICE.    I back out smiling.  I walk past the mini-meringues without even stopping to pop one in bag.

Pic taken by Diane J Connell. She consumed 7 meringues and 8 éclairs.
 Fifteen sweet units in all - but I suspect it was a bit more.

I sail into a taxi still smiling. In my bed by 9.15 and ready for Jeremy Paxman.   Next challenge the Saddleworth Women’s Institute without a bevvy - can it be done?