Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The orient express

Saturday night was my birthday present from Lisa – Dinner on the Orient Express no less!

It was a wonderful experience. Down at the end of platform 1 at Victoria station there’s a special waiting room and from the moment you enter you’re in a world that doesn’t seem to have changed for 80 years… except maybe for the food which was a 6 course Italian tasting menu with different wines for each course.

The train – which looked exactly as it does in all the Agatha Christie films – chugged through the English countryside for four hours, while the guests (dinner jackets for the men and long dresses for the ladies, of course) were served a great range of lovely food.

It wasn’t just a great (and extravagant) evening, it was immensely relaxing to be taken out of your world of work, babies and everything else, and placed – even briefly – in another, completely separate world.

The train in motion was somehow decoupled from the rest of the universe – the experience was of being in a bubble where nothing existed but the carriage and the two of us (and the waters, other passengers and food!). nothing could intrude.

Even just a few hours spent like that is a holiday. Perhaps better than a holiday since holidays have mobile phones, and are long enough in duration to allow thoughts of the outside world to permeate.

My suit
The event was a “black tie” do, and I wore the suit I had made on our Honeymoon in India (along with a self-tie bow-tie – I think there are times when, a ready made bow tie just won’t do!). The suit was made to measure in about 12 hours, and I’m afraid it’s beginning to show. The lapels weren’t strengthened in the way they needed to be and the whole suit feels as though it could disintegrate every time I wear it.

There’s always a feeling of pretension when you put on a dinner suit. You’re invariably on your way to a posh event where you’re going to pretend you’re the sort of person that normally spends their time hanging out in these kind of gatherings – you have to behave as if you’re in your element regardless of how unusual it is for you.

However, there has to come a point – and I think it may be when you realise that the dinner suit you bought less than 2 years ago is getting worn out because you actually wear it more than you wear your work suit – that you have to accept that the pretence is over. That you’re not pretending to be one of those people anymore, but that you actually are one.

Not quite sure how I feel about that.

Responsible, probably. Responsible for everything.

Sam’s dog show
Meanwhile, Sam had her own special dinner…. She and some friends got hold of the dog competition film “Best in show”. For the event, Sam prepared a delightful meal in which she decided that all the courses had to look like dog food…

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