MY HOUSE was one of many households around the country enjoying a party this Bank Holiday weekend.
I love a good party.
That is to say I love a good party...until about, oooooh, four hours in.
The four-hour mark signals something within me and after that, it’s like a change comes over me. Like Cinderella at midnight. Or Dracula at daybreak.
Until that point, I can be the life of the party.
Three hours and 45 minutes into the night, I’m a mingling, drink-refilling, story-telling, drinking-game playing machine.
AFTER that point...I can’t really explain it, it’s like a switch is thrown.
Four hours and five minutes into the night, while everyone else is still throwing out shapes to Jay Z and drunkenly jabbing marshmallows into the chocolate fountain, I’m darting around with black bin bags, chucking away paper plates and mopping up beer spills.
I don’t know what’s wrong with me. It’s not that I want to be a bore – I really don’t.
I want to be able to sit and relax. I want to chatter away to my guests. I want to soak up the fruits of my effort, after 24 hours of cleaning and shopping and prepping and cooking.
But I can’t.
Not while there’s a dishwasher to stack.
If somebody lifts up their can to drain its contents, I’m already wiping the table of its water ring and holding out a carrier bag for them to place the empty receptacle in.
I’m THAT person. How mortifying.
And, I’m not going to lie, I like to do the whole thing with a cup of tea in hand.
Right at the point where everyone else is starting to mix their drinks – creating fascinating new cocktails out of the many bottles lying around – I’m flicking the kettle on and combining a PG Tips teabag with a splash of skimmed milk. Bliss.
My poor boyfriend does his best to force the Dettol spray bottle out of my hand.
He waves glasses of pretty coloured punch in my face as he tries to cajole me into the other room where the rest of the partygoers are starting up a drunken Twister tournament, but I simply can’t do it. It’s as though I’ve given over my house to this event we call ‘party’ for a time, but now I want it back, I want to reclaim it and restore it.
There are always one or two people who feel obliged to come and help out too. It usually starts with my sister who begins following me around, picking bits of food up off the floor and mopping up mysterious puddles, then more friends will join in and before I know it I’m leading a clean-up conga around the kitchen.
Of course I insist they all go and rejoin the party. After all, as hostess, it is a burden I must bear alone.
When the night is over, my guests tiptoe carefully across the freshly hoovered carpet to retrieve their coats and bags that I’ve hung up in the wardrobe, carefully organised by size and colour.
They thank my boyfriend for an awesome party, before turning to me – as I stand fluffing couch cushions – and giving me a weird smile that seems to say ‘get a life.’
Well, it’s only 12.05am and my house is lovely and tidy, so who’s having the last laugh?