Monday, July 14, 2008

13th July 2008 - A Party in the Garden

We went to a garden party today. It took place at the home of British Telecom’s outgoing Chief Executive Officer, and was an opportunity to meet the new Chief Executive Officer and his wife. The setting was absolutely stunning, the imposing house being set in very large grounds.

We were greeted with champagne, and frankly it never stopped flowing all afternoon. Canapés and mini portions of food were being offered round by uniformed waiters and waitresses. Mini hamburgers (how did they get buns that small?!), BLT mousse in martini glasses, miniature wrapped portions of fish and chips and satay skewers were just a few examples of the yummy things on offer. There were several marquees including two just for children, with actors doing shows for them, and face painting. A popcorn machine and ice cream barrow were nearby and a never-ending supply of free snacks was being dispensed to the waiting children.

A main marquee in the centre housed a bar where wine, champagne and soft drinks were available. On the wall of the marquee was a sort of bookshelf arrangement, each section full of miniature desserts. There were wicked chocolate brownies, blueberry cheesecakes, shot glasses with baby puddings in them and skewers of strawberries and raspberries.

A jazz band played just across from the marquee, and further up the lawn on a good sized court, four middle aged chaps played a very energetic game of tennis. It turned out they were all former champions – among them Ille Nastase and Pat McNamara. They were obviously having fun, and it was very entertaining to watch them. If you wandered past them and up the hill, you came across a marquee housing a chocolate fountain. You just helped yourself to a skewer, and selected something from the huge range of treats – mini donuts, marshmallows, fudge, strawberries etc – which you then dipped in the fountain of chocolate. It took great self discipline to drag ourselves away from that marquee – but not before we had tried a good selection of the treats on offer.

A secret walled garden further up was the location for a classical quartet playing orchestral versions of some very modern music which was lovely. Wandering beyond this point revealed another bar, and table tennis tables where the British Table Tennis team were playing matches with guests. From here you could wander into the house, where one room was given over to SEGA racing machines, a Wii and other computer based amusements. There really was something for everyone.

The weather was gorgeous – only a couple of showers threatened and these blew over without incident. It was so amusing. All three of us had a lovely time. When the afternoon ended, every lady was presented with a huge bouquet of flowers. Mine has hydrangeas, roses, calla lilies and some beautiful purple flowers I don’t know the name of. It really was a super day.

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