Friends and Family

Orieladelphians Dinner Friday 13th April 2012

The influence that this blog has! Last year, when writing about the Orieladelphians ‘Friends and Family’ dinner and the recital in the music room that preceded it, I remarked that I could never remember what the music was, despite Thomas’ excellent introductions. This provoked a storm of protest – well, one slightly aggrieved email from Thomas, saying I only had to ask. But there was more. For this year’s pre-dinner recital, there was an entire programme, with notes on each piece, and the words of the songs. So that tree you saw being cut down to make paper – that was my fault.

Music Programme Notes

The ‘usual’ piece was not part of the programme, but was demanded, and played, as an encore. Since it wasn’t listed, I still can’t remember… Just joking, Thomas, put down that bazooka: ‘Suite from The Victorian Kitchen Garden’ by Paul Reade.

Also after last year’s blog, elder daughter Eleanor said that if younger daughter Tris didn’t want to come, she would like to. So this year, she did. Her husband Joe would also have been welcome, but since he is an anti-vegetarian, a large proportion of the food at formal dinners is off limits and he generally doesn’t think it worthwhile.

There were 23 people, the largest number we have had, beating by one the 22 who came to the Music Room inauguration dinner. Any larger and we will be in danger of exceeding the capacity of the Senior Common Room to accommodate us, and then where would we be? Last year, by coincidence, there were equal numbers of men and women. This year, men exceeded women – in number, that is, I make no other claims – making it harder to work out who should move places between courses, and how far. But not impossible. We discovered a workable solution involving the esoteric concept of the “bloke-space”, i.e. all the blokes stand up and move to the next chair vacated by another bloke standing.

There were more young people this year, too. Not only Eleanor, but also Thomas’ daughter Elizabeth, Ranulph’s niece Alicia and neighbour Kevin, and Edward’s guest David. The food was good, including ham, rabbit, hake, cranberry, venison, star anise, rum, shortbread and cheese (to pick words not quite at random from the menu). The drink was good, too: champagne in the music room, white wine, red wine, deshert wine, port, bran- bran- brandy, more por, fall over. But not before escorting Eleanor to the taxi rank at Carfax. No, I didn’t actually fall over. I pace myself better these days. Thanks, Ranulph, for once again organising the event.

We were the only group in breakfast, apart from a couple of people who quite soon left us in splendid isolation. A fried breakfast is necessary after a dinner like that. It was a pity that the conveyor belt on the toaster ran a little fast. Once through left the bread warm and floppy. Twice through and you had a large biscuit with decorative black edges.

After vacating our room and handing in the keys, Diana and I wandered through Oxford to the Museum of Natural History and the Pitt Rivers. We were due at Eleanor’s for lunch, but had strict (and understandable) instructions not to arrive before 11.00, so killed time in a serious educational and instructional manner. It was actually a Smith family gathering at Eleanor’s, with my mother, sister and sister-in-law visiting from Bromyard to see her new house (reaction: favourable). They arrived just after we did, with impeccable timing, exactly as mugs of tea were emerging from the kitchen.

Lunch was very pleasant. Ellie had a Mexican theme with fajitas followed by apple strudel – well, half a Mexican theme. Half an Austrian. By this time, I was starting to worry about my waist-band, but not very much. The food tasted too good. We all left about mid-afternoon and headed for home.

I’m not sure I recall what we had for supper that evening – something slight and unmemorable.

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