SO, here’s something I never thought I’d hear myself saying: we’re having a dinner party this weekend.
There’s no reason for this sudden extravagance other than we thought it would be nice.
By which, of course, I mean she thought it would be nice and I thought better of protesting because some battles – like taking Moscow in winter – are basically unwinnable.
So, there it is.
I saved my metaphorical troops. I signed the peace accord. I turned up Football Focus and hoped the idea would melt like snow in the Russian Spring.
Except it didn’t.
And so this Saturday, sitting round a table designed for four, in a kitchen where a kitten could barely be cooked let along swung, we shall be, ugh, entertaining.
It won’t exactly be a first.
Certainly we’ve had people round for tea before but, on this occasion, as I understand it, tea won’t consist of the offer of a frozen pizza, a handful of salad (“in the fridge, help yourself”) and extra Blossom Hill in front of Take Me Out.
It will be an altogether more sophisticated affair.
There will be conversation and culture and – how about this for a sign of class? – cutlery laid at the table.
This, strangely perhaps, has reminded me of the first time I ever bought a sofa.
Or rather it has reminded me of how for years previously I had confidently declared – mainly while watching DFS adverts for sales ending on Bank Holiday Mondays – that the moment one consciously decides to spend free time shopping for a settee is the moment one accepts life is essentially pointless; that willing participation in an act of such pedestrian consumerism was the signal one’s existence had lost its excitement; that, in short, a lifetime of comfort was not worth one moment talking to a DFS salesman.
And then, of course, I grew up, moved to a flat without a couch, and had a great old couple of hours in a second-hand store asking questions about low maintenance fabrics and camelbacks.
And so it kind of is with this dinner party.
Because for years I confidently declared that the moment one consciously decides to stay in on a Saturday evening to eat lamb rather than, for example, heading down The Leadmill to get knocked back by some girl in hotpants is the moment one’s existence loses...well, yeah, you get the drift.
Safe to say, I never envisaged throwing my own.
And yet here, it seems, I am...
She’s already told me I have to move my Beano annuals out of sight and arrange the CDs into a more creditable order (The Clash at the front, Oasis to the back, The Ting Tings in the bin).
There are starting to be hints that the bathroom needs cleaning and that it wouldn’t be fair for the person buying, preparing and cooking the food (ie. her) to have to deal with bleaching the bog too.
The hints are starting to have the feel of a Russian winter about them.
We’ve decided what’s on the menu. The food is being bought on Saturday. And so too actually is that cutlery. It turns out, now the invites are sent, we don’t actually have enough. Wilkos – home of every sophisticate – here we come.
We’re hoping it goes well.
I still have that sofa, by the way, so the omens are all right.