I got back from America last week, but have been busy babysitting my nine-week-old granddaughter. I have much catching up to do. I haven’t posted in almost two weeks and I’m trying as hard as I can to read through all the posts I have in my inbox.
Today is August 1, and that means its Austen in August month over at Roof Beam Reader. Let me explain why this is so important to me. When I first moved to Norway in 1988, I was a single mother of three, I had just gone through a terrible divorce and was at a very low point in my life. There was no internet, blogging, facebook or skype. It was outrageously expensive to use the telephone and I couldn’t speak Norwegian. I was lonely, until one night when Norway’s one and only television channel, showed a BBC film called Pride and Prejudice. This was my first encounter with Jane and the rest is as they say, history!
If you get the chance pop on over, there is a lot going on…
my husband and I threw a dinner party for ten. Four times a year we get together with his old fotball (soccer) buddies and their wives for an evening of good food, fine wine and lots of reminiscing. I’m not kidding either, these guys can remember exactly who scored what goal at which game, way back in the 1970’s and 80’s!
Last night it was our turn to host. We got up early, I headed straight for the kitchen and my husband out for a bike ride, (he’s training for a race). For me a dinner party starts weeks before, as I pour over recipes and table setting ideas. Choose which wine to serve, order flowers, iron table clothes, clean the house and decide what to wear.
I always try to choose a meal I can make in advance, this way I avoid the stress of cooking while guests are already sitting in my living room. I found a recipe for Prince William’s favorite Cottage Pie in the wedding issue of People Magazine last year and figured if it was good enough for William, it would be good enough for us. Just to be sure, I gave it a trial run (very tasty). For color, I’d make a big salad with every different veggie I could find (I hate boring salads). For desert, I decided to make an apple & blueberry custard pie and serve it warm with vanilla ice cream.
I doubled all the recipes and stood cooking, chopping and baking from morning until late afternoon. Cleaned up the kitchen, set the table and got myself ready. The whole time in good company, as Mia and Khloe (my furry companions) sat by my side – waiting for something to drop. Meanwhile my husband finally got home from his ride and was quickly punished for being gone all day – with a list of things to do before our guests arrived.
One hour until count down we locked the dogs in our bedroom, so I could run the vacuum one last time. Heaven forbid someone find a dog hair, at a dinner party. Mia and Khloe are not used to being locked away, and took this very personally. They cried, barked and scratched to get out. I gave them treats, talked to them and even yelled at them to stop, which is something I never do. As my guests were coming in I could still hear them, I had to think quick or they would ruin everything!
Then I remembered… Whenever I don’t feel good and need quiet time, I’ll pop a Jane Austin film in the DVD player and lie on the sofa all day. The dogs seem to understand this and will always lie quietly next to me. I made a quick dash to the bedroom, chose Pride and Prejudice (its a long one) put it on and hoped for the best.
Sure enough, Jane Austin to the rescue! I’m pretty certain she could tame the wild beast in anyone, Khloe and Mia were as good as gold. The food was delicious, we talked about goals, injuries and penalty kicks, everyone had a great time and in reward for being good, the girls were later allowed to join the party.
That is after their film was finished, of course.