With nightlife severely curtailed, ‘tis the season of the private party when we hardy souls who are staying in Bahrain for the summer seek ways to entertain ourselves.
Some choose the ever popular barbie by the pool and there are book clubs and games nights galore. From Scrabble to lawn Jenga, I’ve joined in with (and been beaten at) all of them. The Twister was particularly illuminating, I had no idea some of my friends were so bendy, nor the trip to A&E so long when your arm seems to be pointing in the wrong direction!
Possibly one of my best efforts was the time I volunteered to provide assorted deserts at what was to be a rather large gathering. The chocolate brownies looked delicious and the apple pie, though nowhere close to my mum’s heavenly creations, was certainly more than passable. But the hostess had specially requested lemon meringue pie and I, fool that I am, had blithely agreed. After all, how hard could it be…famous last words.
So, pastry base made and delicious lemon filling lovingly prepared from scratch (oh no, none of your packet mix for me) with zest and juice, eggs, cornflour et al, and swiftly running out of time, I dashed off to shower and change before returning to the kitchen to whip up the topping.
Now remember here that I am making a pie to serve at least 20 people when you consider the chaos caused to my newly-washed hair, freshly-pressed clothes and the general surrounding area when I took the lid off the mixer to check the consistency but forgot to stop mixing – exit one very cross cook back to the shower.
All of these have been tragicomic and I can laugh at them now but my worst nightmare, which returns year in year out, is the fancy dress party.
First off, my imagination runs away with me (as do the contents of my make-up bag). I envisage Marilyn, sadly the effect is more Manson than Monroe. But it’s the costumes and themes that really flummox me.
The invitation said ‘It’s a P party, come dressed as something beginning with the letter P’. Now I’m showing my age here, but I actually remember punk and I thought I bore a pretty good resemblance to my teen self, albeit plus several pounds and a few wrinkles. So why did a young party goer tell me I looked great and she loved the Mary J Blige top – has anyone ever seen Mary J performing in a bin liner?
And, for the love of Mike (whoever he might be), what do you wear when the theme’s ‘Cosmic Cowboy’ or, heaven forbid, ‘Star Trek’?
I truly admire those who come up with some of the most brilliant costumes I’ve seen, the three white girls who donned perfect full-body make-up and wigs to turn themselves into the Supremes and the chap who spent the whole evening wearing an abaya and riding a blow-up camel (the voice did give him away a bit though).
But I should say here that I am inherently lazy and disorganised. So although I do try, my efforts are invariably last minute and absolutely always extremely uncomfortable. So, much as I love all these private parties, the arrival of the invitation with its fancy dress instructions strikes terror into my soul.
That said, I rather liked the Princess Fiona costume. Being a bit of an ogre comes naturally, the make-up wasn’t too much of a stretch and, for once, I could let my ears show.