It was a good lunch. A key rule of enjoying any meal you are hosting is that the food should not require too many last-minute interventions in the kitchen, and should be capable of keeping without spoiling until the party has reached the point where food is required. On that basis I tend to serve my friends and relations boiled things or cold things, and the Systems Administrator opted for roast pork. It isn't meant to be eaten pink so there's no anxiety about over-cooking pork, and it will sit happily for ages once done. Beef was ruled out on the pinkness issue, and because although the SA's yorkshire puddings are excellent, they need too much supervision and demand to be eaten when ready. It was a good piece of pork, and the roast potatoes were fluffy and crisp, the crackling crunchy but not teeth-breaking, and the vegetables cooked through but still with some bite to them. My contribution was pudding, lemon syllabubs and a raspberry shortcake. Everybody had one pudding and some tried both. I only had one, but was part of the minority that still had room for a sliver of cheese.
It isn't natural to eat that much at lunchtime, and we very rarely do. You certainly don't have the energy to do anything for the rest of the afternoon, or what's left of it by the time you've stacked the dishwasher and washed the things that have to be done by hand. But we don't all see each other very often, and it was a party.
Our Ginger loves parties. He loves all human contact, and cannot imagine that anybody doesn't love him, so a room full of extra laps to sit on, and new legs to cover in white and ginger fur, is very heaven. We shut him into the outer hall while we served lunch, and apart from that he was a constant presence. The big tabby is not too keen on visitors, but is extremely interested in the concept of roast pork and cheese, so he had to go out as well, otherwise we'd never have got all the food safely to the table. Trying to get a meal from the kitchen at one end of the house to the dining table at the other end of the house is like solving the problem of the fox, the goose and the boat across the river at the best of times. The big tabby and Our Ginger sat in the outer hall throughout lunch, staring accusingly through the glass door, Our Ginger doing his Simon's Cat act of scrabbling his paws on the glass when he saw anyone coming.
The original mogs disappeared for the duration. We confessed to currently having four cats, when anyone asked, but we could easily have got away with only owning up to two, if we'd remembered to rearrange the food dishes and baskets in the hall to back up our story. Within half an hour of the family departing the originals were back, without any apparent sign of resentment. Indeed, to make up for his lonely day the black cat has now settled down beside me on the sofa, something he doesn't do very often, and is purring.
His sister has taken up residence in the middle of the kitchen table. It is her new craze, and she's been doing it for a few days now. She used to divide her time between lying in the doorway between the inner and outer halls, and lounging on the office chair in front of my desk. We have got used to treading carefully through the half of the doorway that isn't taken up with the cat, and I have learnt to crouch in front of the desk when I need to plug my laptop into my printer. She doesn't like being moved, and she is a creature of strongly held opinions. Her expression from the middle of the kitchen table is thunderous. So far I have managed to budge her up to one end in the mornings so that I can eat breakfast, but she doesn't like sharing her space with the computer. The SA is hopeful that when the weather warms up she will go out more. I am afraid that it will not be very convenient not being able to use the table, but remember that we managed for years without one.