I know I have been accepted here in my tiny town, as I received a personal invitation for the annual charity Coffee Morning, hand delivered by the woman who is the chair of the committee. Naturally, I invited her in for tea and (homemade) biscuits, and took her on a tour of the house, which thankfully had just been polished and scrubbed by my wonderful help here. I could tell she was eyeing up the space to see whether it might be suitable to host next years event, the giveaway was when she whipped out her tape measure, saying she was interested in the size of the sisal rug in our drawing room!We chatted for a while about the town, the schools, the children, the new interiors shop, and the problems of keeping pets safe when fireworks are exploding, then she sprang it on me, would I consider joining the committee. I didn't want to rush into this as I hate to devote myself to anything until I have checked all avenues, and there may be an alternative charity group that I should be steering towards, so I stalled for time, saying that I was just finishing off with my responsibilities for the various charities I was involved with in London, and as soon as I handed these over, I would certainly be looking to become absorbed locally in charity work. This did the trick, and she left with a smile and wave, and a fistful of my biscuits she said her children would adore at tea-time - likely story.
The day of the coffee morning arrived, and fortunately it wasn't raining, which meant I wouldn't need to wear wellies, although I do possess a rather luxurious leather lined Le Chameau pair, they are not exactly elegant, I've never seen a pair of wellies that are, even my mothers Gucci ones, which do come close, but rubber is rubber and there is only so much you can do with it for your feet. It was important to be dressed correctly, overdressing might be considered ostentatious and jeans, although my current cherished pair are J Brand, might be thought scruffy. This was the ideal opportunity for me to bring out my latest purchase from Joseph, a pair of highly flattering trousers the same colour of my favourite chocolate bar, teamed effortlessly with a super soft Pringle pistachio coloured cable knit long cashmere coatigan (the new word of the season). I appraised my choice and concluded I looked very 'Bond Street on a Monday'.
Off I toddled with my Anya Hindmarch basket and arrived at a very beautiful house at the foot of the lane where the event was being held, hosted by a tall, handsome woman who was completely charming and who very kindly guided me around the rooms, introducing me to so many (mostly) ladies, there was no way I could possibly remember all their names. Her home is enchanting, and this was emphasised by the array of gleaming and sparkling goods on offer, all being sold in aid of charity. I began to make my way around the stalls, filling up my basket as I went with some sensational gifts, food, cards, clothes and jewellery, all of which was quite unexpected as I didn't anticipate that I would actually want to buy anything, and I was terribly impressed. These ladies were not amateur arts and crafters, they were the real deal, and after chatting to a few of the stall holders it transpires that many of these ladies have thriving businesses, and some supply to the very boutiques and stores I left behind in London. I thought it was very clever of the committee to invite all these marvellous traders and expressed this to one of them, whereupon, in hushed tones, she intimated that the hostess had a real struggle with the chair lady who had been completely against introducing items that people would genuinely want to buy, and felt it should remain very much a home made (not very exciting) affair. Does this not defeat the whole point of a coffee morning for charity?
Once I had filled my basket, and my arm was beginning to ache, I set off in search of coffee, this was after all a coffee morning, and sure enough in the hub of the house, the kitchen, I found a place to park my trim bum and plonked my basket down next to me, and there she was, the chair lady, holding court around the kitchen island, tucking in to more biscuits. I listened to the polite chatter and tinkle of laughter and was then asked if I had made any purchases - I began to pull out my acquisitions and told my attentive audience that this was by far the best charity event I had been to since leaving London, and how refreshing to find things that were not only perfect gifts, but were of the highest quality, and how very brilliant the chair lady had been in getting all the sellers on board, and how lovely it would be to do it all again next year, and perhaps she should consider a summer event too.
My fate is now sealed, as after this exchange, several of the ladies agreed with me, and insisted I join them in organising the whole thing, particularly as they had heard how large and beautiful my garden is, and that it might just be the perfect venue for a summer charity fete. Oh dear, how will I explain all this to handsome husband, perhaps if I promise a beer tent it might placate him....