It is a truth universally acknowledged…

One of the joys of being a resident at 2 Victoria Street, aside from the fact that our ceiling is lined with sewage (file under “still unresolved”), is that our parties have become notorious for being stylish and memorable events.

We set the standard with our 1930s-themed housewarming party, at which people wore hats, outlandish cocktails were mixed and Miller’s Crossing was projected on the wall. Our winter warmer party in December raised the bar even further, with somebody tearing two ligaments dancing to the Mary Poppins soundtrack and a member of the household (who shall remain nameless for his own protection) drunkenly touching the left nipple of one of the female guests without waiting to be invited.

On Sunday night, however, I feel that we beat all previous records with the most successful venture yet: our long-awaited Pride and Prejudice party.

Some would say that this was a cynical cashing-in on the fact that we live with a Mr Bennett. But whatever our motives, this was a genuinely classy affair. For a start, we all looked fabulous – our trip to a local costumier involved the realisation that 19th century garb looks better on me than anything I actually own. Secondly, our house, lit almost entirely by candles, also looked fabulous – and we saved on an evening’s worth of electricity. It was also a civilised evening throughout; fine wine and champagne flowed freely, there was domestic performance at the virginal (well, Alastair and I bashed through the Pride and Prejudice theme on the piano), people took turns around the garden (we only have a tiny backyard, but after a little encouragement guests threw themselves into turning around it with great aplomb) and we even managed a spot of country dancing.

The dance in question was a simple little number called “The Love Knot”, and in case you would like to attempt it at your own parties (it is highly recommended) here are the directions:

Longways, four facing four.
First Lady leads the Ladies line leads round Gents line (8 bars).
First Gent drags other Gents round Ladies Line (8 bars).
Top couple cross to other line, “weave” down “wrong” line to bottom, then return to own side and stay down there (8 bars).
Make two stars, near & far, right & left (8 bars).
Ladies start again with new top lady.

I suggest you walk through the moves once or twice then whack on the music. Our guests managed it admirably, though Chris did choose to interpret “weave” down “wrong” line to bottom as meaning throw yourself on top of the lady opposite – but that’s pretty much what we’ve come to expect.

Most successfully of all, the same female guest as last time had her left nipple touched by a member of the household – albeit with her consent (and indeed her other nipple).

On the downside, my bike has been stolen – again. It is widely known that bike theft in Cambridge is virtually an industry in its own right, and it doesn’t seem to me as a resident that the police are doing an awful lot about it. For all that their website boast testimonials from six-year-olds who have been reunited with their beloved vehicles after nights of fearful weeping, this is now the fourth time I have had a bike stolen, but the only arrest ever made in connection with my vehicle was when I was fined £30 for cycling home without lights a couple of years ago (uncharacteristically, I might add). At two in the morning, along a deserted road. Far be it from me to accuse the Cambridgeshire Constabulary of sloth, but the phrase “easy target” does spring to mind.

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