Saturday, 5 October 2019
I don't know what the custom is where you are, but over here, when you are invited to someone's house for a meal it is customary to take with you a bottle of wine or some other alcoholic drink.
We had a new boss at work. She had a posh voice, upper-class like, and a double-barrelled name; also a sign of being from a distinguished posh background. Rumours were that her husband too was a well-to-do individual.
She invited a small group of us to her house one evening for a meal and so that we might get to know each other; or more precisely so that she would get to know us.
She gave us her address. It was obvious when I checked that she lived in a mansion at the edge of town. (See the photo I took when no one was in the room).
My colleagues and I discussed what we would take as a present when we got to her house. It was obvious from conversations that she and her husband did not drink. So a bottle of wine or similar was out of the question.
Most of my colleagues decided to take flowers with them. Some decided to take a box of chocolates. This limited my options tremendously. What else could I take for the woman who has everything?
I remembered that we had in the fridge a packet wrapped in nondescript paper containing a small box of the best caviar ever, (apparently). It was given to me a day earlier by a friend as a gift in return for a favour I'd done to him. He showed me the caviar box and then wrapped it in some paper. When I got home I just put it in the fridge to keep it fresh. (Is that what you're supposed to do with caviar? I don't really know. Never even tried caviar!)
Anyway, I rang home. My wife was not there. I told the baby-sitter, (this happened years ago), who was not good at English; "There's a packet in the fridge, second shelf, please wrap it in the gift paper I have in my desk. I'll collect it on my way to my boss' home!"
I got home. The packet was beautifully wrapped with a wonderful pink ribbon tied around it in a bow and a paper rose, (where did she get it from?) stuck on the top. It looked fantastic.
I got the packet. Thanked the baby-sitter and drove at speed to my boss' home.
It was a lovely evening.
When I got home and opened the fridge to get some milk I found the caviar box my friend gave me still there!
What ... what happened? What did I give my boss as a present? I asked the family but no one could fathom out what happened.
The next day, my boss said nothing but looked at me with one of those stares that would turn Lot's wife into a pillar of salt ... only faster. I did not dare raise the subject.
That evening I asked the baby-sitter what had she wrapped so beautifully the day before.
She replied, "Zee packet of zee saucisses ... sausages ... like you say to me on zee phone ... I do wrap zem in zee gift paper and I put zee ribbon on eet to make look beautiful!"
To make matters worse, I found out later that my boss and her husband are vegetarians.