After a very late night again last night – 2.30am when we got to bed this time – I am struggling today to get my act together as it were. It has been another busy few days preparing the house and food for our friends (some neighbours up the road) coming, but all worthwhile as we had a very pleasant and relaxed evening just chatting, eating and laughing round the table. I decided on buffet type food instead of a formal meal but eaten at the table rather than balancing a plate on our knees – things to nibble at, a selection of Quiche and sausage rolls etc. a green salad, some pots of couscous and coleslaw, a few tiny baked potatoes and a cheese board.
Isn’t this what life is all about – connecting with people, enjoying each other’s company and eating together.
When we bought the food and drink for last night I did try to be quite prudent and not over buy. Had our friends been vegetarian or even had a liking for vegetarian food it would have made things simpler and cheaper but they are traditional meat eaters and one of them does not eat fruit and the other no nuts or salad and more recently pastry – we only found out about the pastry when they sat down to eat – a bit tricky as I had bought pork pies, sausage rolls and Quiche as they always seem to go down well. Our friend ate the fillings and left the crusts which solved the problem! The left over meat products have now gone up to my daughters for SIL’s lunch at work tomorrow.
Anyway my main point about the food and drink is to say that I find the state pension does not really stretch to entertaining or buying alcohol so in future I need to think ahead and buy the drink in a bit at a time. Catering for all the varied tastes now is a bit of a headache when you ask guests ‘what would you like to drink’ we have requests for Prosecco, Gin, rosé wine, Peroni and craft beers in addition to the usual red and white wine and lager – to stock everything is going to prove too difficult with less income especially when a mixer is required like tonic or lemonade as we don’t drink them ourselves and they have often gone flat by the next event.
As well as a good evening it meant we had leftovers to eat today – bits of Quiche and spinach parcels, salads and leaves so we packaged them up added some bread and hey presto we had a picnic to take out with us accompanied by a flask of hot chocolate.
We headed for a local garden centre to choose a birthday gift for another friend. Had I been well organised I would have bought this before Christmas and not at the last-minute. But I was not on this occasion.
However, we did take advantage of the sale items and as well as a lovely mosaic outdoor table light for my friend I bought two half price items – a solar light for hanging on my outdoor cherry tree (so it doesn’t look too bare outside now the Christmas lights are over) and DH got some secateurs (you can never have too many when you have two gardens to upkeep!).
Our dining room and kitchen has been the hub of many get togethers over the years with friends and family and for all our daughter’s parties as they grew up. I have so many happy memories connected with this room – it may be battered and old now but the joy and laughter still seems to linger in the atmosphere and in some ways I am loath to decorate in here in case I lose that but we do need to give it a fresh new look.
I have been holding a Burn’s night celebration with a group of friends over the years but this year we may have started on the kitchen renovations by then and I am not sure we can afford to host it; even though Haggis, turnip and spuds are fairly cheap foods my friends have hearty appetites.
During January I aim to review all those important things in life-like health, diet and finances to see what is working for us and what is not. This week I will be reviewing the finances and will find out just how we have done over the past year spending wise and look at what areas need a bit more attention to cut down any wasteful and unnecessary spending.
Have a good week everyone and thank you to all those who took the time to make themselves known with a little comment on my blogday post – it is much appreciated. x
16 Replies to “dEAr diary ~ the importance of friends”
There is nothing wrong with asking your friends to either a) bring the beverages or b) only buying 2 options of wine and 1 beer choice.- When presented with the offerings they will either make a choice of them or stick to coffee or tea. You are being more than generous by hosting and providing the meal. You get all the prep work and all the cleanup, whilst they come, have a great time and head home with no worries. If they think less of you- are they really such a good friend? Just my opinion
Good advice – I am sure they wouldn’t think less of us I just worry about being a good host and wouldn’t want to appear mean. My oldest and dearest friends would drink anything we had on offer and always come with some drink in hand anyway. The friends we had at the weekend have only been to us on a few occasions but each time they seem to ask for something different so it is hard to know what to get in as other than red and white wine we don’t keep a huge stock of anything because DH drinks mainly red wine and whisky and I don’t really drink. I feel we have to offer something but I keep getting it wrong! Incidentally the last few times they drank coffee after the meal and I know he likes Espresso like my DH but this time both asked for tea which is fine but I find it all a bit unpredictable. Maybe they didn’t like our coffee!!
In Australia, BYO is the norm. And it extends beyond just bringing their own alcohol.
The Man always wants to supply everything – he likes to feel like a generous provider. But by having people bring a salad or their own meat to a barbie, it means you can get together with friends more often. Not that we’ve been doing this lately. What with work and all. But in our younger years we regularly had get-togethers. It was understood, everyone brings their own drink. And most brought a salad or dessert. When we were really young, we had to specify if we were supplying meat. It was the norm for people to bring their own.
I have followed your journey for some time now but have never left a comment.its nice to find a blogger who is the same age group and blogs about the things I enjoy as well.
Hi Margaret and thank you for introducing yourself. I think there are a number of mid life bloggers whose blogs I read myself – some feature in my blog roll at the side – I too find it enjoyable to follow their stories when we like similar things. I often smile when I read about similar ‘off days or problems’ like burning the dinner or facing the ever growing ironing pile and can identify with a lot of the ups and downs in life that we all have.
Best wishes to you for the New Year.
Once you get to know them their likes and dislikes will be ‘known’ but you definitely can’t please them all the time and you’ll worry yourself sick if you try to.
Shell’s comment says it in one – if alcohol is important to them, mention BYO . And of course you could make it a pot luck supper (each person brings a dish with them, that way beer and basic wines will suffice. I agree that when you’re on a fixed income ‘treating’ others to your ‘top shelf’ soon loses its appeal.
And as for your Burn’s night celebration- just mention the renovation to one or two of them and gently suggest someone else hosts it this year. Offer 5kg of tatties in exchange lol
With this particular couple they have a lot of dislikes but also the goal posts keep moving around – I do keep a list of likes and dislikes that I keep adding to everytime they visit! As it is one of my good friends 60th birthday around the same date as the Burns night I am going to suggest I give it a miss this year as it might clash on the same weekend as she wants to hold her party. I really must think about our decorating as a priority this year. Like the tatties idea!
Shelly and Cathy have already given a couple of good ideas on entertaining and spreading the cost across others (e.g. BYOB and potluck meals). Either of these suggestions mean people may ensure they have something they will enjoy without unduly stressing the host family about making ends meet and/or fulfilling expectations. To take the pressure off you, perhaps let people know what will be available for drinks/food ahead of time (e,g, email them a small menu–tapping into your creativity), that way they can adjust their expectations and/or bring something to supplement their dietary or drink restrictions. Perhaps it is me, but I don’t consider it reasonable for folks to expect all their particular special diets and drink preferences to be met when being invited to your home, especially when they know you are retired and are likely to have a reduced income. Your invitation is gift enough.
There didn’t seem to be a problem before but maybe having two incomes coming in I didn’t notice the costs of buying a lot of variety both in food or drink if we needed to.
I do think though that drinks themselves have now fallen to being victims of the fashion and marketing industry. First it was Prosecco everywhere and now Gin with craft beers on the increase too – but all these can be very expensive drinks to buy when out and entertaining at home. My friend who sadly died couldn’t even do the ironing without a bottle of wine – as a very infrequent drinker I find it all quite difficult to understand the attraction – give me a good cup of tea any day.
When giving a party I usually ask “What would you like to drink? .I’ve got…….. (etc.) and they can choose from the list and it’s often quite a short one.
I am going to a Burn’s Lunch tomorrow, first of many, complete with bagpipes, dancers and stories, even though it’s a bit early.
Good tip on the drink. Have a great Burns lunch – I would quite like to have had real bagpipes at our do – we have to settle for a CD or a You tube performance!
Here it is choice of fruit juice, filtered water, tea or coffee.
Otherwise our guests BYO.
There is a trend to avoid waste – special diets I do try to cover. We are vegetarian, and I have a niece with food allergies. A buffet style meal (including suitable choices for my niece) works for us.
I don’t really have a problem with the food whether I make all vegetarian or some meat for my closest friends they eat it all – I hardly have any left overs!
Sorry I’m late reading this and coimmenting.
I agree with the comments above – ask your friends to bring their drink or a bottle of something. You’re providing all the food so i can’t imagine they would mind and would probably be glad to contribute. I know I would.
A curry night might go down well at some point, providing you already have the spices. A lot of Indian cuisine is vegetarian which tends to work out much cheaper anyway.
Whatever you do, enjoy your Burns Night!
I’m with some of the other commenters. Rom doesn’t drink alcohol and I’m a very light drinker. I make one signature cocktail which I offer visitors, and I buy wine, but I never have a stocked-up bar. Other than those, it is coffee or tea. I do struggle with dietary restrictions and preferences – I am mostly vegetarian and I’m fine with providing vegan or gluten free, but I don’t like cooking meat, so I can’t really accommodate paleo or keto diets. That might require eating out at a restaurant with a big menu, or arranging to meet up for another activity that doesn’t involve food!
I usually cook a mix of vegetarian and some meat just in case depending on who it is that we are entertaining.
The drink side is the more difficult for me as I hardly drink and am not into the Gin thing nor DH into craft beers but it seems a lot of people are at the moment. Our last Burns night my friends came with a small barrel of beer from one of these micro breweries which was nice but not for the ladies – luckily we had loads of wine in from Christmas.
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