Progressive Dining

Sorry, travelling last week, so blogging suffered. Had a good weekend though. One of the social pinacles of our village calendar happened over the weekend, the progressive diner. I’d never encountered this before moving to rural England, but its rather fun. Organised with military precision, you don’t quite know what’s going to happen prior to the night.

We didn’t host this year, our turn to take it easy. Our instructions arrived in the post the week before. Show up at 7pm exactly at such and such for a starter. We did, to find a house full of women. A few husbands had dropped out to watch the rugby. Bad form that, the event is done to raise money for the church, and even if you dont get your money back, your host is donating the food and probably bought too much.

Any how, we had a lovely couple of drinks and a starter of local smoked trout (very nice too). At the appointed time an envelope was opened and we each received instructions of where to go next. The point is to mix everyone up, so you spend each course with a different group of people.

Off we went again to our next house. The hosts where joly but a bit sad. One of their great danes had just passed away the day before after ten years. Still, it was if anything, any even more enjoyable crowd than the first course. The food was good too, a very nice paela with some fine rioja.

Again at the appointed time an envelope was ripped open and we found out where to head for pudding. The final course is always together, and usually is hosted at one of the local great piles (which is fun). This year though, someone thought it would be ‘great fun’ to hold it at the church.

Now, I love our church. With an origional Norman chapel, and various additions, fires and bombings its a place of great beauty. My father loved to visit as he said it was one of those precious places where you can quietly talk to God in true peace.

As it doesnt have any attached hall, and its a bit cold, its not quite the place for a raucus pudding gathering…

Besides I quite enjoy getting a nose about some of the local manoirs. Two years ago one of the local rock grandees had us in, which was fun for reasons I shant go into.

Still a good time was had. Its a great event, really mixes things up. We’re a village of contrasts with both exessively well off and rural poor. The church stands in the middle of it, and this is a night when it all really doesnt matter.

Next year we’ll host again. Which is both fun and hectic as you’re still expected to have your other courses elsewhere. Worth it though.

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