We had an interesting time on Saturday. Once a year I get glammed up in a long dress and K gets his dinner suit out. It’s a ball: canapés and champagne on arrival, dinner and dancing until the small hours, all held in a marquee in the grounds of a big house.
Now this event had already been postponed when Storm Dennis passed through. Though it wasn’t as severe round here as other places, the marquee hire company vetoed it. As it happened that suited me perfectly – it meant I could attend a leaving do for our friends who are moving away. We breathed a sigh of relief when we saw the marquee going up earlier last week. The forecast did not look good, but we were all excited. Daughter had a new frock and I was recycling one from a few years ago (well, if it’s good enough for the Oscars dress code…..). The taxi arrived and off we went.
The marquee looked wonderful, complete with a dance floor and chandeliers. The table settings were perfect, decorated with arrangements of red roses and heart-shaped helium balloons. The guests arrived and everyone looked wonderful (some gorgeous outfits). I did notice that the marquee lining was rippling, the balloons were bobbing and the chandeliers were swinging to and fro as the wind gusted stronger and stronger.
We chatted with friends, and sampled delicious canapés. There were tiny smoked salmon blinis and hoisin duck wraps, chorizo and prawn skewers, miniature tartlets and all sorts of other delicacies, all accompanied by the bubbly. Two of the guests on our table had very thoughtfully brought hip flasks containing damson and sloe gin, which they generously passed round. It really enhances a glass of fizz!
As we took our seats for dinner it seemed that the wind had abated a little. Joints of roast beef were brought to each table, and one of the guests on our table carved ours…it was perfectly cooked and there were plenty of roast potatoes, vegetables, Yorkshire puddings and gravy to go around. We ended our meal with generous portions of sticky toffee pudding, served with copious amounts of custard. All very tasty.
As I drank my coffee I noticed that the chandeliers were swinging again as the wind came back with a vengeance. Daughter decided she couldn’t wait any longer to hit the dance floor, so off she went, only to return a few minutes later with bad news. The storm was worsening and it had been agreed (after consultation with the marquee company and insurers) that the event had to be abandoned for the safety of all present. We were advised to contact our transport providers and arrange to be picked up as soon as possible. What a shame! There’s so much planning goes into something like this and I really feel for the organisers, especially after it had been rearranged once already, but their decision hadn’t been made lightly and it was the right thing to do. What a disappointment for all of us that had been looking forward to it…some had made rather more effort that me (new dresses, hairdos, professional makeup and spray tan….). We can control a lot of things, but sadly not the weather!
I got on straight on the phone to our lovely taxi driver and he was brilliant. Fortunately, he wasn’t far away and was able to take us home before his next booking. We fought our way through the partygoers who were clustering round the bar waiting for their own transport, having been moved away from the stage and dance floor (I think that was deemed to be the most vulnerable part of the marquee). As soon as we got outside it was easy to see why the event had been abandoned. I found it difficult to walk in the wind: it was so strong, definitely the type of storm that brings trees down. A promised, our driver picked us up promptly and got us safely home.
We’d still had a wonderful evening. I’m so grateful to Alnwick Wizard Taxis for rescuing us from the teeth of the storm.
Have you ever been to an event that’s been stopped because of adverse weather or other unexpected circumstances?