Yes, it was the first of October yesterday, and the sudden heat wave had everyone at it…
Barbecuing, that is…
And right on cue, I had a late call from my friend Sarah inviting me to go to her friends’ house. I knew that I wouldn’t know anyone there, apart from Sarah, and I’m not one for gate crashing other people’s parties, but heck, it was a hot evening and I had no other plans.
Sarah picked me up in the car on the way past and as we raced round the corner to her friend Mark’s house, I anxiously clung on to her beautifully made cheesecake, convinced I was going to end up wearing it or dropping it.
The cheesecake arrived in once piece and we were greeted at the door by Mark himself, a charismatic, warm and friendly man, wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with the words:
I’m not a gynaecologist, but I’ll have a look.
With my puerile sense of humour, I couldn’t help but laugh.
A couple of drinks later, and Mark’s amazing paella was ready. And for a moment, I had a weird feeling of displacement. In the 20 years I was with my ex-husband, he never cooked for me. Not even once. And unfortunately, doing absolutely everything on a domestic level has become my comfort zone. It made me very conscious that going forwards, I need to allow people to do things for me, even though I find it hard.
And then, I don’t know what came over me. I had a funny ‘turn’ and came over all bold, brassy and frankly, quite smutty. For reasons I can’t quite explain, I felt the need to ask the host, who was talking about cycling, if he wears ‘budgie smugglers’. And from there the conversation progressed to mankinis. What ever was I thinking?
But was that enough for Lara Lakin… Oh, no!
That’s when I had a dreadful attack of foot in mouth disease. Having agreed with another guest, a lovely man who is a real Doctor, that Darwin had got it right, I opened my big mouth and put both feet in… right in… up to the ankle.
“I’m not at all convinced that mankind is responsible for global warming!” I exclaimed.
I heard the sound of stifled laughter and heads banging on the table behind me, as my host kindly explained that The Doctor had just spent 10 years researching the effects of global warming. In fact, he’s just had a book published, based on his findings!
“Ah, you’re a denier are you?” he replied calmly.
“Errrr, yes! Oh, and I used to work for a GM Crops company!” I replied. I thought I may as well finish myself off with that last point! But maybe what I should have just said was “No, I’m just a dumb blonde with a big mouth!”
Luckily I was spared further embarrassment by the arrival of Sarah’s amazing cheesecake.
Alas, disaster struck, and my premonition that I would end up wearing the cheesecake came to fruition. It slipped off the plate, onto my hair, down my back and splattered all over the floor.
“Don’t worry” Mark’s wife said calmly. “I washed the floor today, it’ll be fine!” And so, the cheesecake was scraped up off the floor and eaten anyway!
Finally, after more raucous conversation, it was time to go home. I’d had a great evening and been made to feel really welcome by complete strangers. And I had felt able to ‘be myself’ although maybe, sometimes, I should rein it in a bit!
And I hope my recovery from the global warming gaff was as successful as that of the cheesecake! Not looking quite so clever, but going down well anyway!