It’s a strange thing a Buffet, even the word sounds strange when you say it: B U F F E T.
Recently I had the dubious pleasure of attending a Buffet. The object of the evening was definitely NOT the buffet, we were all there to attend a book launch. Yes, yet another book launched onto the innocent public. The Author standing around trying to look nonchalant and unaffected, but failing on both counts.
The evening started well, a few chosen words by said Author, a lot of polite clapping by people who really didn’t care why or how he had come to write the book, because most people were eyeing up the Buffet, and had only really come for the reason. Yes, I have to admit I myself was anxious for the talk to be over so I could hot foot it to the buffet table. I had already noted the tiny vol-au-vents. Some mushrooms sliced delicately onto bits of stale bread which were already curling up. The numerous other delicacies which lay awaiting our delight once the bloody man stopped talking about his boring book.
I reckoned I was sitting near enough to get a good head start on some of the other people at the back of the busy throng, and I noticed the pile of plates on the left hand side of the table, so my aim was to start at the left picking up my plate ready to pile up when the time was right. – Would he ever stop talking!
At last he had finished. I gave one more quick clap, and rose steadily from my chair. But wait, people were already gathered to the left, plates being grabbed instantly by people who were cleverer than me and had seen a quicker exit. The throng had grown larger and by the time I had made my way over to the table there were no more plates left. Now what to do? I stood next to the space where the plates had been, looking sadly at the empty space.
Never mind, I felt myself being carried along by the crowd and I landed right next to a plate offering up a selection of tiny sandwiches. I plunged one into my mouth. Bad choice, it had an olive on it. I hate olives, I tried to munch my way through it, but the taste of olive had overtaken the tiny smoked salmon sliver that had been on it. That’s when someone tried to engage me in conversation. “So what do you think of the book – have you read it?” I nodded slowly whilst trying to negotiate the olive in my mouth onto a serviette without anyone noticing. I coughed delicately depositing safely the olive into the serviette without hopefully anyone noticing. “Oh you don’t like olives either,” this really annoying person said. Obviously I had failed the discreet depositing of the olive in the serviette. I moved on.
At last, there were some more plates at the other end of the table, I stretched out just as the last one was being seized by a particularly large lady opposite. Our eyes met, she had one end of the plate, I had the other, it was now a matter of strength who would succeed to grab the plate, it was her, obviously. I meekly gave in and let her have it. But wait, all was not lost. There were some saucers stacked up ready for the coffee break, I grabbed one while I could.
I was amazed by my sense of achievement, and reminded myself once more “that I must get out more”.
Right, I moved skilfully along the length of the table grabbing whatever I could and piling it onto my saucer, I was getting really good at this. The art of it was to stack from the bottom and pile up larger bites on the bottom and the smaller ones coming delicately to the top. Satisfied with my selection, I now looked for somewhere to sit to eat this beautifully sculpted offering. Aha, a chair. I grabbed it, but not before someone else had just sat on it, I pretended not to notice them, and carried on pulling the chair along. It was no good they were too heavy, it must be their carefully selected plate of hors d’ouvres that was doing it. I gave up, and decided to lean moodily against the wall instead.
Just as I put the first little morsel in my mouth, there was more clapping, and the Author of the book had reappeared on the stage, and people were now deserting the buffet table and wandering back to where he was fielding “Questions and Answers”. I had no questions, and certainly no answers, so decided to go home, and stop for fish and chips on the way back.