There are one or two advantages of being The Only Divorcee in the Village. Well, actually, I can’t think of two, but there is one – I am in great demand as a last minute dinner party stunt guest. Everyone knows that, since my husband got custody of our social life, I am available before a hat has even dropped to make up numbers, should anyone legitimately invited be struck down with botulism at the eleventh hour.
I have many advantages as a stunt guest. I have a full wardrobe of suitably swanky outfits, acquired Abroad and scarcely worn. I know my lobster crackers from my asparagus fork, and rarely, if ever, mistake the finger bowl for a particularly watery chinese soup. And, most importantly, like Red Adair, I can be airlifted into the most dangerous inter-guest situations and get them under control in moments. Marital discord threatening to errupt over the nibbles? No problemmo, I’ve seen it all and I’ve got the injunction. Political differences leading to raised voices over the starter? I can change the conversation quicker than the hostess can change a nappy. Widespread gloom over housing prices casting a pall over the entire proceedings? My amusing tale of how I sold up for peanuts will have everyone enjoying the warming glow of schadenfreude (there, and I always say I know no German!).
A few samples of my recent conversational wares will give you a fuller feel for my suitability for this role. ‘Isn’t it awful about this credit crunch. They say chemists in the city have run out of neurofen, there are so many people taking overdoses. Ah …. you’re in hedge funds, are you?’ ‘It’s always such a shame when children have to leave their schools when the parents can’t afford the fees any more. Oh, so yours are starting at the local comprehensive in September? I’m sure they’ll just love it’.
Is it any wonder that my diary is fully booked until ….oh. But then, it is the holidays, isn’t it?