Wednesday, August 16, 2006

It’s always warm at a Gaskell Road Soirée …………

On Saturday night we went to a party. It was supposed to be a summer soirée, but typically the English summer weather thwarted our plans to saunter in the sunshine and lounge in one of the only private backyards we are associated with in London.

When it became clear that the sun was stubbornly refusing to have a part in the evening’s festivities, our host dispatched a round of ‘rusty nails’* – guaranteed to warm when the sun wouldn’t. By 8.30pm the majority of the party goers were huddled in the kitchen extension eating their canapés and chatting excitedly. Londoners are adept at partying in cramped conditions and adapting to wet weather contingency plans – if they weren't they would never get to party!

However, parties on Gaskell Road stand out. Parties at Gaskell Road are always a mixture of civility and elegance coupled with good humor and a hint of that good ole Aussie yobboism (it’s a word… ask any Aussie!!).

The music is eclectic and the atmosphere relaxed and welcoming. When we arrive our hosts look refreshed and expectant. The lady of the house has her hair up, wears kitten heal shoes and is draped in sparkles and turquoise, she is never ostentatious and always delivered with effortlessness (or the illusion thereof). Lord of the manner, who tonight masquerades as the bartender spiced with a hint of tri-athlete, is freshly showered, with slick hair and a pressed shirt. Their little lady comes dressed as a Ballerina in a pink tulle tutu.

At what age is it that Tutu’s at parties go from being cute to crass?

The Gaskell Road party food is always exquisite but never fussy. At our indoor summer soirée we feasted on an assortment of oriental delights (sushi and rice paper rolls), salami and Rocket wraps, summer fruits, friands and Brownies.

For girl’s only events, such as kitchen tea parties, the table is draped with white linen and covered with glasses filled with sparkling pink champagne. In autumn the table is decorated with miniature crab-apples and flickering candles. Cheese platters with fig jam is served as a fitting expression of appreciation of the most romantic season of the year.

The bartender provided an assortment of liquid goodies that cater for all inclinations. Sparkling or non-sparkling, red or white, alcoholic or beverages for the drivers (or indeed the detoxers!). Generosity is overwhelming as the 15 year old whisky it placed on the drinks table for all to dabble in its delights.

As we leave we make our way to the door by dancing to cheesy disco songs. The bartender jumps up and down in a ‘mosh’esque style and our hostess lures us into a semi-soul train semi-aerobics routine (or was that just me…?). All the while little lady ballerina is tucked up in bed… tutu carefully stored ready for the next soirée!

On the way home I think to myself – 'Warmth always radiates at Gaskell Road …… Even when the Sun refuses to come out and play!'

* Rusty Nail

2 oz Scotch
1 oz Drambuie
Twist of Lemon

Mix both ingredients in a glass with ice, strain into a Whisky Tumbler (My rule of thumb with whisky tumblers is the heaver the base of the glass the more pleasurable the experience!!)

Garnish with Lemon

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