The chutneys came thick and fast, served with Suave Gav’s own specialty breads - olive and onion amongst them - alongside numerous dips, spreads and Dick’s selection of baroque cheeses. Some of the outstanding creations the quartet had prepared included Onion Marmalade With White Wine And Herbs, Hot And Sweet Cranberry Relish, Pineapple Ginger Salsa, Chestnut And Ginger In Red Wine Vinegar Pate, and Every Single Word In The Title Capitalised. One thing was sure. These weirdos could cook.
We may have been a mismatched grouping to begin with but we seemed to gel. Whilst we regarded them as oddballs from a glamorous distant past, we too appeared to be something of a novelty to them. LaFlamme, who can be difficult at dinner parties due to her low boredom threshold, behaved remarkably well around our hosts. I think she was genuinely confused.
“How do you get your hair to sit like that?” asked Jane, who had the most perfect beehive I’d ever seen.
“I iron it,” replied LaFlamme.
“Oh,” said Jane excitedly. “Do you have tongs?”
“I have an ironing board,” said LaFlamme.
When Suave Gav said he had an announcement to make, LaFlamme and I simply gazed up at him like ten-year-olds at a birthday party.
“First,” he said, “a crucial question. Bavarian summer or Alpine winter?” There was a collective ‘ooh’ from the gathering. “In other words, would you prefer your Blutwurz flaming or on the rocks?”
Without hesitation Dick and Jane began chanting ‘flaming, flaming.’
“In that case, we’re heading for the Apres Ski,” said Gavin, retreating behind the bar. “Whilst I make the final preparations, perhaps Tony might like to recant to the group his most fascinating insight into our beloved blood root.” I wasn’t sure what this meant in English but was sufficiently emboldened by the Brandy And Olive Mustard to address the gathering.
“Well,” I began, “a friend of ours heard about this plant. It’s called Torpentile or Turniptil or something.”
“Tormentil,” said Gavin.
“We’ve been working with it for a while now. It’s very refreshing. And we always feel pretty good after it. I don’t know if it is actually a hangover cure, but..” For some reason this grabbed their attention. “All I can say is it’s still under development and we look forward to working with it some more.” Even the virulent cocktail jazz had ceased, which was remarkable given that there had been no exorcism. The only sound was Suave Gav whistling softly with one ear still cocked towards the conversation.
Dick split the silence. “Did you say hangover cure?”