Although I love having guests, it is not that often that I manage to get a group of people together at my place. Last Sunday was such a rare and most appreciated occasion.
It was my birthday on Monday, but Mondays are very inconvenient for such things - I leave work rather late, and by the time I get home, it is too late to start on anything nice like home-made pizza, what with the dough needing to rise and all.
Instead, I decided to invite my parents, my sister and some of my closest friends for Sunday evening.
Preparations were easy and did not take very long; all I had to do was to put enough chairs in the living room, get the glasses out (I borrowed a set of six champagne glasses and six wine glasses from my mum, as I own only six of each myself), buy the drinks and the ingredients for the food, and give the place its usual Saturday cleaning.
My guests were treated to my home-made pizza and tiramisu. One of my friends had offered to make lasagne - and who am I to decline an offer made by a friend? My mum brought a giant bowl of salad as well as a dessert / cake kind of thing that we call "Cold Dog" (I will ask her for the recipe and some pictures to post it on here, if anyone is interested - it is very fattening and very yummy!), and so there was plenty to eat & drink for everyone.
For musical backdrop, I had asked for advice in a forum where I usually get helpful answers to all my questions. At first, I was thinking of internet radio; I do have a big collection of CDs, but I did not want to keep interrupting conversations and eating by having to faff with the stereo, and to be honest, there are only a few CDs in my collection which could be used as a gentle backdrop for pleasant conversation - most of it is meant for me to dance and / or sing along to (and I certainly did not want to scare my guests away!).
Someone told me of www.musicovery.com - a very interesting tool: you can set the dials on one or more different styles (my choice were funk, latin and jazz), on the general mood of the tracks (my choice was "positive"), and even on a specific year or period; I set that on "all", meaning the program would choose tracks from all available years.
It proved to be an excellent suggestion, and I must not forget to post my thanks to the person who directed me to the website.
All in all, there were ten guests, myself and my cat. I was given the most beautiful flowers (of course I ran out of vases, so that one bouquet had to go into a plastic water jug) and lovely presents, along with many hugs and compliments for the food.
I provided some more entertainment by showing the pictures I took during my recent mini holiday in Nice on the Côte d'Azur.
Shortly before midnight, everyone was gone, the dishwasher was humming away in the kitchen and the few leftovers were neatly wrapped up in my fridge. It was a wonderful evening, and, as always after such an occasion, I am telling myself I really should do this more often.
Monday morning saw the living room almost back to normal with the glasses back in the cabinet, the plates stacked away in the kitchen cupboard, and only the flowers and cards left to remind me that this was, in fact, my birthday.