Although it is a bank holiday I thought I should start getting back into the habit of writing the diary following the Christmas break. Had a most enjoyable time and the goose was quite delicious. Said I will certainly get one again (myself next time).
Still feeling a great deal of appreciation for boss and Horseface's gift, invited them around for New Years Eve. Expected them to be busy with some engagement or other, but found them quite excited by the prospect. Said they would bring a bottle and some entertainment. Thought this quite curious, and expected the worst.
In any case, boss and Horseface arrived at 6 o'clock on the 31st. Door was answered by me as other half and Mrs Payne still getting ready. Took their bottle and having greeted them warmly, sat them down with a drink while I continued to get various pastry items and so on ready for buffet later, popping in occasionally to add a few plates to the folding table. At great insistence of Mrs Payne, also served her speciality: miniature turkey mince pies, made by her earlier in day. Kitchen had barely recovered since.
Other half joined us some time later as I was finishing preparations. Had managed to exchange the dress I bought, and coming down the stairs she looked a picture. Told her this and said she was a darling.
Barely had time to fill other half's glass before Mrs Payne made her entrance, with an gasping,
"Good God, Bitty!", followed quickly by, "you look a picture!" from boss. Rest of us all too astonished to reply.
Mrs Payne, wearing what can only describe as light blue tinsel-effect dress, came plodding carefully down the stairs, looking not unlike a giant Christmas bauble.
Other half quickly stepped in saying perhaps mother would catch a chill in her dress, and although awfully nice to dress up on this occasion, perhaps would be best to wear something warmer seeing as everyone else was in "scruffs", and in any case, oh it was very nice, and where did she get the dress? Mrs Payne most indignant about this, saying her daughter was wearing her nice dress so she would like to also and she bought it in town. As such endured Mrs Payne in this attire all evening.
Buffet preparation quite finished, sat down and enjoyed a glass of wine whilst making sure to tell them how delicious the goose was. Other half interjected saying if I talked about that goose any more I'd likely turn into one. Received laughs all round.
Decided shortly after that perhaps the buffet should be started, and handing around plates, everyone duly gathered their food. Mrs Payne made quite certain that everyone had at least one turkey mince pie, and herself, three.
Sitting down again we each began nibbling at our favourite morsels, and judging by careful viewing, had approximately the same reaction to Mrs Payne's turkey mince pies. As such, one would take a small bite, realise the item the most foulest of pies ever set upon, and during a most frightful process of chewing and swallowing, set into a deep depression on how to get rid of the remainder. Inevitably this meant hiding it carefully amongst other items on the plate, and hoping by some miracle it would disappear. Inevitably, with further eating it would peek out from time to time and make its worrisome presence known, insetting further depression at ever having taken the beastly item in the first place.
After some time of talking and eating, and I'm pleased to say two or more trips to the buffet table from everyone, the most horrible of events occurred with Mrs Payne venturing to ask what we thought of her pies. This subject most delicately dealt with by all, saying it was most delicious but really, they were much too full for any more, thank you. Quite aware of the curious height of napkins on plates, I most judiciously took everyone's plates away, carefully stacking the turkey mince pie remains as I went, unseen to Mrs Payne.
Next came boss and Horseface's surprise, and quite unexpected it was. Asking if I would be so kind as to pull the little coffee table over, boss said he would reveal the surprise. I did as asked, and gathering around we looked upon a long thing wooden box rather the size of a pencil box. Opening it revealed a beautifully crafted set of dominoes. Thought this the most silliest of children's games, and said as much, but boss and Horseface quite adamant that it was quite a skill and the height of intellectual gameplay.
Making sure everyone's drinks quite topped up for purposes of endurance, set about playing our first game. Having shuffled the tiles we each drew a requisite five dominoes. Following boss and Horseface's example, other half, Mrs Payne and I set our tiles on edge and looked at our hands most seriously.
After some time I ventured to ask what we were waiting for, at which boss and Horseface both exclaimed they were waiting on the other to start. Seeing this was going to be quite a long game, had a generous mouthful of wine.
Followed a marginally interesting game where I quickly expelled three of my five tiles only to sit on the remaining two for turn after turn of arduous dilly dallying. Eventually my luck came and I won! Most pleased at having won, and the game having taken less time than expected, asked if perhaps we should have another. Three games later, I had won my solitary one game, Horseface had won one, and other half had won two! Said this was a most entertaining way to spend an evening, and further, was quite in agreement at fearful level of skill and gameplay.
Suggested a small break, at which time other half offered up her little finger desserts. Mrs Payne excitedly said there were more turkey mince pies available, but all said they were really in more of a sweet mood. Mrs Payne highly dejected at this.
Boss said dominoes really rather boring, with Horseface proceeding to tease that was only because he wasn't winning. Boss went on to say perhaps playing for money might liven the game up, how about 20p a player per game? All seemed delighted at this added excitement, although Mrs Payne most scornful at betting on a Sunday. Explained it was actually Saturday, however Mrs Payne would not change her opinion. As such game continued with four of us, which worked out all the better as we could have the standard 7 tiles.
With money at stake game continued with great focus from all involved. Mrs Payne interjected on occasion as to how delicious her turkey mince pies were whilst proceeding to polish off the plate, but the four players far too involved in the game to respond. Was furiously keen to win the 80p. Other half, playing to my left, interrupted my tortuous thought process on several occasions with "COME ON!".
In any event, I won the game! Some grumbling proceeded as to everyone else having given up out of sheer boredom, but I claimed the victory, and 80p (although 20p was my own). Some minor gloating may have occurred, and said another two games and I'd have enough for a coffee at the coffee shop! Horseface deeply aggravated by this, swore it would never happen.
Managed three more games before midnight, with a win spread between each of us. This worked out rather well as all ended the night happy in a small victory, although each took home his or her original money.
Counted down to midnight in usual tradition with all having a glass of champagne apart from Mrs Payne, now fast asleep with an empty plate in her laps and only a few turkey mince pie crumbs remaining.
Happy New Year!