Chapter 2 part 1 Covert Observations

Chapter 2 part 1  Covert Observations

There was a soft vibration in his pocket. He sighed and looked across at his wife who was preparing fruit for the pudding later that evening. It was their turn as hosts in the dinner club and the guests would be arriving around eight for an evening of dining, wining and ‘bon homie’ expecting to conclude around midnight. The rules were simple, the hosts had to prepare all the food themselves, and also had to import the wines. No friends, servants, maids or other assistants were allowed, and it was expected that those hosts who employed such, would ensure that it was their night off and that they would be long gone before eight, naturally not returning until after the dinner concluded and guests had gone. A plate of snacks and light refreshments would also have to be provided for those of the guests that would, by necessity, be accompanied. Whilst not part of the dining ensemble, the accompanying extras could not allowed to be far away, usually retiring to a room not required for the evenings main event, but never far from it, and certainly within earshot. Often the rooms used would beneficially be equipped with access to the house surveillance systems and at least one direct telephone line. The purpose of the evening was not one-upmanship with the food, although there were usually some very small points that could be scored with the wines. The idea of the self preparation was simply to involve the wives, and in some cases the husbands; and the unspoken and unwritten rule was Keep It Good but Simple. Straight forward food, of high quality, simply prepared, cooked and presented. The evening was about food and company, and not about who employed which chef, or shopped at Fortnum’s or in Knightsbridge. As far as all knew, the evenings were looked forward to by all who attended, and usually took place around the first Saturday of the Month, the only exceptions being when that coincided with official engagements occupying more than half of the group. In which case either the following Saturday came into use, or the month was skipped.