Wednesday, 22 July 2009


Today has been a long and rather tiresome day, in the main.

This morning it took me 40 minutes to get my work laptop up, running, online and with all the emails etc downloaded, which was annoying. There have been complaints at work that the desktop machines are equally, if not more, slow, but my laptop has been pretty good up till now.

I am trying to get my head round a whole new chunk of work that I have taken on from a colleague who left last week, which is interesting. Trouble is, even after a couple of days of reading and re-reading I still feel like a bit of a halfwit. It'll come, but it's all a bit of a struggle, especially at the moment where my brain is still not quite all there yet.

I'm back in the office tomorrow, and I see from my sloooow inbox that we are having a summer party at the end of the afternoon, in the conference room.

Aah, nothing says Summer quite like corporate furniture. I'm not completely sure, but I think it's more likely to be a few drinks and nibbles and speeches by the top of the shop about how well everyone has done, rather than a wild drink-fuelled orgy of destruction. Not a real party.

Speaking of which...

We had a bit of a hoolie last weekend. On the spur of the moment we invited some of our lovely neighbours over for dinner on Saturday night, after a Friday night pub discussion about how we weren't doing anything much for the weekend.

I wanted to make cocktails. We watched some TV show in the week where they were drinking cocktails from proper martini glasses, and I thought "We've got some glasses like that! We should make martinis! Why don't we do that*?"

And from that, it is but a short step to having a few mates round for dinner.

Mr WithaY and I are trying to make space in the freezer, as we are expecting to take delivery of a lamb (dead, butchered, to be frozen, in case you were wondering) from some friends who have been rearing them this Spring, so we've been eating Meals That Time Forgot over the last few weeks.

We have also been unearthing some rather great stuff, like sea bass that Mr WithaY caught when he went sea fishing a while back. And frozen octopus. It made a rather fine seafood salad, a grand end to a glittering career. Sorry Spence.

I made some mini bread rolls, from a recipe on Nigella Lawson's website, which were, though I say it myself, bloody great. I also made chocolate truffle cake, and shortbread to have with strawberries for pudding. My plan was to offer our lovely guests a choice of things in an elegant restrained manner, but by the time we got round to eating we were all off our heads on martinis, and I think everyone had some of everything, possibly all on the same plate at the same time.

Cocktails, though. Don't they get you drunk fast?

We started with the classic gin martini: Bombay Sapphire gin and dry Martini, shaken with ice, served with an olive. Mmmmm-mmm. Goes surprisingly well with chicken flavour crisps. You're welcome.

Then we made Vodka martinis. Sadly, thanks to the gin martinis, I was unable to follow the recipe and ended up mixing together vanilla vodka and Bombay Sapphire gin, completely leaving out the dry martini. Again, shaken with ice, served with an olive, and then later with an additional splash of martini when we remembered. Not nearly as bad as you might expect.

Obviously, that was before dinner. With dinner we had some** truly splendid white wine.

The evening is a bit hazy after the second cocktail, but I'm pretty sure there was a lot of laughing, shouting, eating of fine food, and the gracious hostess falling asleep on the sitting room rug as her guests departed to crash through the garden hedge, as is traditional after a WithaY dinner party.

Sunday was a quiet day.

*The whiny small child that lives in my head tends not to demand sweets and comics these days, but opulent cocktails and expensive jewellery instead.

**a lot


The Peach Tart said...

Damn that sounds like my kind of party. Bombay Sapphire is my gin of choice and makes the best martinis. I've never tried it mixed with vanilla vodka but hell I'm game. The food sounded good too. Yum. Yum.

@eloh said...

Sounds fabulous...your friends will be waiting for the next "party" with great anticipation.

Did anyone draw on your face whilst you were passed out? If not, you may have found the perfect "cocktail experimenting" crowd.

justme said...

I haven't made cocktails in YEARS! Probably just as well, mind you.....
Sounds like a wonderful time was had by all. Why don't I have neighbours like you?

livesbythewoods said...

Peach Tart...what a great name! Hello. Bombay Sapphire is fabulous, and I insist on it whenever I have a cocktail (about twice a year). The food - what I can remember of it - was superb.

Eloh, no! I woke up unmarked. I must have mightily restrained mates. But of course if any of them have read your comment, I will need to watch out next time.

Justme, you really ought to, it is great fun. Although expect to lose about 3 hours of your life and wake up in a bit of a daze the next morning.

We have the best neighbours ever. We are very, very lucky.

Mr Farty said...

...and a good time was had by all. Alcohol always makes parties go with a bang, glad you survived.

When's the next one?

livesbythewoods said...

Mr F, it was a very, very drunken evening indeed.

Not sure I have the energy (or enough vanilla vodka) to do it again for a while.