Last year we had a celebration. McColleague and I decided to put on a bit of a do to mark an important anniversary in the history of the house. We went to the Cash and Carry to spend our massive £30 budget on drinks and nibbles to offer our visitors as they entered the house.
I made my signature dish - cheese and pineapple on sticks - and McColleague knocked up some "Festive Fizz" out of Lambrini, orange juice and lemonade. Our budget goes a long way. We set everything up on doily-lined trays on a table in the Gatehouse. It looked quite posh. We then sprinkled metallic confetti numbers around the base of the glasses to complete our theme. Fancy.
The thing about the gatehouse, though, is that the design means that it is a bit of a wind tunnel. If you stand in it with a tray of drinks and cheese and pineapple on sticks there is a strong chance great gusts of wind will blow assorted grit and debris all over you.
"The confetti!" I cried, as all our little numerical bits of glitter flew into various crevices of the gatehouse and across the lawn.
We spent much of the day trying to keep little black specks of who knows what from getting into our glasses of fizz. The cheese and pineapple was even harder work, as the grit just embedded itself into it.
"This was a terrible idea," McColleague asserted, and I was forced to agree.
"What we should have done," I opined, helpfully, "was to set all this up in the Ticket Office."
"Why didn't we?" wondered McColleague. We didn't know.
This year we had a Pledger and Benefactor day. It is a day for presenting the place at its best in the hope of impressing people so much they decide to give us money. McColleague and I were asked to provide the refreshments. We have a good reputation for refreshments, given our past triumphs. This time we played safe, and stuck to tea, coffee and biscuits. We waited until the last possible moment to put everything out on the tables, which, granted, were outside in the courtyard, but under cover and not in a gusty area.
And yet, despite these efforts, there was still a moment or two when I had to excuse myself as I discretely replaced the milk which had inexplicably been contaminated with various bits of grit and a fly.