Is this the party before?
Could well be asked shortly. Huttonian is marking the move to the-small-house-in-Duns with a house warming (The Hutton event was a Manse Cooling). When serving HM the Q we occupied houses which were purpose made for entertaining and once you got to a semi dizzy height well equipped for the purpose-grape scissors and all. A Counsellor was allocated a dining table which sat 14, a Grade 3 Ambassador 20 and so in until the Grade 1 Ambo could entertain all the occupants of a Routemaster to a slap up sit down dinner if he/she so wished. A Grade 4 Reluctant Dinger has a table which can seat 8 if you are all very friendly and standing room for not many more. So we decided to invite our guests in two standings or shifts (dress casual) -one lot from 6-7-30 the others from 7-30 until we close the bar. Many a slip: people anxious about the weather might come earlier than invited, others might get lost and end up at a Third Coming and so on. No doubt we will survive as numbers are not great.
This is not a new technique. I learned about it from a very ferocious Ambassador of the old school and representing a middle ranking European Power. Underpaid and ill equipped with a tiny residence (Ambos don't slum in 'houses') he entertained reluctantly and frugally. He hit on the two standings technique and timed it to a second throwing people out at 1929 from the First Shift and getting rid of the second lot at 2100, with the fire alarm if necessary. He was so unwelcoming and subject to sudden rages that guests tended not to linger. But one occasion, when he had carefully divided the sheep and goats into the boring but worthy (6 to 7-30) and the slightly less boring but known early bedders 7-30 to 9)he awaited his party with less apprehension than usual.
No one came.
Apparently he had carefully mentioned the times but not the day.
And no-one had risked his ire by ringing up and asking for clarification.
I think we have told our guests which day. Will soon know
If we haven't
Labels: Diplomatic entertaining, House warming, Small House in Duns