I don’t go to many north London dinner parties these days. So I forgot the things that I thought they were: the collective agonising about the state of the family, town, country, the world, the universe; the booze that turned the occasional sow’s ear into a silk purse, from which a thank-you letter could be truly made; the aspiration to real conversation that was collective, honest, brisk, sometimes witty, wearing its authority lightly and never patronising.
It was good for me to go to one again. A tidy drawing room was a holiday, and not having to be a cook…
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