Sunday morning dawned and my mind was full of buffet. Had I bought too much or too little? I’d had 60+ yes replies to the invitations, and as a writer of the impoverished sort (there are many out there!) only Yours Truly catering was affordable. All was in hand. Only sandwiches and cheese/pineapple on sticks left to do. Two wholemeal loaves and a white awaited me in the kitchen. Meanwhile son and daughter slept on in the lounge, one in sofa bed and one on floor. All was calm, when I heard stirrings I took in tea and coffee and we sat for a while enjoying a family chat.
First disaster was the white bread didn’t seem fresh enough. Quick call to ManFriend with request for another loaf as well as more red wine. We tasted that the night before, and decided Chilean would be an improvement.
Soon the kitchen reeks of mashed eggs and tinned salmon, Daughter and I do the wholemeal loaves after much agitation as she is now gluten and wheat-free. Mummy’s home mixed bran fruit and fibre is no good. No cornflakes? What can she have to eat?
Son exits. He’ll only be an hour, round a friend’s. “Don’t forget, we need your help loading up.” I remind from the chopping board.
Man Friend arrives with shopping. “What’s there for me to eat? And I need tea. “We shove each other about as he gets in my way reaching for the kettle. Not safe when you’re trying to pierce fresh pineapple pieces onto cocktail sticks. I stab one of my fingers. “Just hang on, will you. Another five minutes and I’ll do us some scrambled egg. I detect some muttering, like not a man’s meal.
Lunch over, relaxing with a cuppa, and down comes the snow. Huge flakes. “Oh, no,” I wail, “That’ll put the elderly guests off venturing outdoors. What if we’re left with all this food?” But it’s not the settling type of snow, and the ground is damp.
I decide a little relaxation on the bed is a good idea. I lay there thinking, “This is good, I’m not too nervous, have another hour to get ready.” when Daughter shouts “Mum, what are you doing? It’s 2.30. You said we must leave at 2.40 prompt.” Must have gone brain dead.
Aagh. I’ve never flung on an outfit or put make up on so quick. Son has returned. How many hours later? Where’s the iron? He wants to iron a shirt. But not before I discover he's eating the buffet cheddar. The cars need loading! I feel I’ve spent the day so far hearing “Where d’you keep this, that? Have you got this, that?” Haven’t people got eyes to look themselves. They should be familiar with my home after all these years.
Miraculously, three of us load the cars and off we go, waving to son seen through lounge window meticulously ironing his designer shirt.
Eastleigh is only a few miles down the road. We’re soon parking outside Age Concern. May not sound inviting, but its club room in Romsey Road is a lovely venue. I take a deep breath, my first book launch, my first published book. “Voices of Eastleigh” – we’re here to celebrate.