"I'm sure we're in for quite a treat. I made a devil of a sauce!" Barry Green said proudly as he strolled from table to table, having been sent to 'front of house' to see about drinks. The question having been answered on numerous occasions regarding if they might be eating before midnight, Barry Green regally asked regards drinks,
"I'm terribly sorry, we don't have many options for drinks. Would you like water, or champagne?" To which the residents fell over themselves to answer with delight,
"Champagne please, Mr Green!"
His duties having been fulfilled, Barry Green took his usual seat, exclaiming to those at his table,
"Profoundly capable women in there. We're sure to have quite a treat."
In the kitchen, Mrs Payne was putting the finishing touches to the starter of prawns, also acquired from the treasure freezer. Carefully loading the items onto a tray along with sauce, Mrs Payne entered the dining room, and seeing it only fit that Barry Green be served first on account of his help, went to his table. Barry Green was in the process of repeating, as he often did, his earlier comment as Mrs Payne put down the starter, with him saying as she did,
"Profoundly capable women" before adding with curiosity, "I say, what the devil?"
"Prawn cocktail!" Mrs Payne said brightly. "It was a fearful lot of work doing them all on my own!"
The whole table looked at Barry Green's starter, a tiny egg cup, elegantly piled with prawns. After some moments of awe, Mrs Payne added without concern,
"Terribly sorry about the egg cups. We're quite struggling for crockery. By the by, I can only find two of the sauce bottles for us to share." Having passed around the egg cups to the rest of the table, altogether silent as she did, Mrs Payne added as she clutched two bottles,
"Tomato or brown sauce?"
Barry Green steeled himself, exclaimed 'Dunkirk spirit!' silently to himself, and said kindly to Mrs Payne,
"Tomato please, Mrs Payne!" At this Mrs Payne shook the bottle frightfully, and removing the lid, promptly dolloped a quite fearful amount of sauce over the tiny egg cup, causing it to topple over, with sauce and prawns a fearful mess on the table. No amount of carefully righting the dish by Mrs Payne proved successful, and quite giving up, with her hand Mrs Payne scooped the saucy mess from the table onto the tray, and said with much embarrassment,
"I'm terribly sorry Mr Green, we don't have any spare."
Starters having been served, with rather more judicious use of sauce by Mrs Payne, events soon turned to the main course. Mrs Payne was again on serving duty, as Suzanne Marr, Molly Faith and Handy Dave worked terribly hard in the kitchen taking the items out of the ovens. There was an audible gasp as Mrs Payne appeared from the kitchen carefully balancing two exquisite looking dishes, presented on wooden boards, with a beautiful turkey en-croute, charred sprouts, and rich cranberry sauce, served in another tiny egg cup. Holding the boards such that the whole room could see the dishes, there was much commenting on having never seen such delights. These comments turned to surprise, as several people exclaimed,
"Mrs Payne!" as one of the en-croutes slide off the board and onto the floor. The room was silent with dismay, but soon broke out in applause as Mrs Payne exclaimed with pride,
"Don't worry, we've got spare!" at which Mrs Payne promptly kicked the en-croute under a nearby sideboard.
Careful to avoid another disaster, Mrs Payne left Barry Green's table to last for the main, as countless dishes had been served to other tables, on ever more curious receptacles. The first few were on wooden boards, then plastic chopping boards, and then jauntily arranged in soup bowls. Coming to Barry Green's table, Mrs Payne served him last, whispering as she did,
"I'm terribly sorry about your prawns. I gave you the best en-croute."
Barry Green looked down upon a quite perfect en-croute, with pastry golden brown and shining, including a prodigious amount of perfectly cooked sprouts, all neatly arranged in a colander. Mrs Payne added brightly,
"Probably best to dip the sauce!"
Next part to be published Saturday 3rd November 2012, 12pm UK
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