Thursday, January 05, 2012

Half a party

I had my first party in my new apartment last weekend - a 'warm-up' for New Year's Eve.

It was kind of low-key, ad hoc, informal ('chaotic' is probably the word, in fact), because I hadn't been sure that I was going to be well enough to go ahead with it, after being laid up in bed all over Christmas; and preliminary feelers I'd sent out a week or so earlier produced pretty much a zero response (though it seems China Unicom's SMS was getting overloaded around Christmas, and dumping a lot of messages off the queue; so, I'm trying not to take this as another snub from my notoriously unreliable friends); I'd planned just to invite my core male drinking chums - The Lads - but discovered that most of them (contrary to what some of them had originally told me) weren't going to be back from their hols yet; and the Chinese government had decreed that Saturday would be a working day, to make up for the fact that (inexplicably!) Monday 2nd was going go be a holiday; and everybody was sick with a vicious cold that's been going around. Nightmare! 

Anyway, having discovered that only three or four of the eight or ten people I'd invited were actually going to be free (and they're not the kind of people you can completely rely on to turn up just because they've said they would!!), and having suffered something of a midweek relapse in my own seemingly neverending cough/cold... well, I'd pretty much given up on the idea. But then I started mentioning it to a few random people I happened to bump into or have contact with on Thursday or Friday... and I realised there were a few Chinese friends I owed a thank-you to for this or that (one of whom was leaving Beijing in a few days)... and I thought it would be nice to try and drag MB and LJ away from the bar for at least a couple of hours on this big holiday weekend.... and so, I found myself issuing a few more very last-minute invitations (very much 'the Chinese way' - maybe I've been here too long, if I'm picking up these bad habits!), and committing myself to going ahead with the thing barely 24 hours in advance. This made my Friday afternoon (shopping), Friday evening (cooking), and Saturday morning (cleaning, tidying, more shopping), more than a little bit fraught.

Once I get busy in the kitchen, I tend to get a bit carried away. And I'm terrible at estimating quantities. So... I made enough mulled wine and cream of pumpkin and ginger soup for about 30 people, even though I was only expecting a dozen or so. My diet this week has become a bit repetitive....

Still, it's nice to reassure myself that the new pad really is pretty easy to find (even The Chairman managed it!), and that the kitchen is reasonably functional for middling sized cooking projects. I'm hoping to have people over rather more often this year (my principal resolution, I suppose: try to entertain at home rather than going out so much).

This wasn't the 'housewarming' (so, don't feel aggrieved if you weren't invited). I'll probably do that in another couple of months or so, when the weather's started getting a bit more cheerful.

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