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Having the neighbours round for drinks ought to be a fairly straightforward affair.  It isn’t –  we have learned the hard way.  It seems that once invited for a drink some friends and neighbours fully expect to stay for several days. 

We’ve tried the mid morning “come round for a Sunday sherry” in the past and have still had people with us at 4pm, pissed and showing no sign of leaving, while we are faint with hunger.  We’ve tried early evening drinks with no mention of food on the invite and have still had people with us at midnight so long after the canapés have run out that I’ve been reduced to serving small squares of cheese on toast in an effort to sop up some of the alcohol coursing through the veins of the village folk, while our dinner has long since dried out in the oven and been fed to the dogs.    Don’t get me wrong – we love to entertain – but drinks are drinks, not dinner, and not an all night party.  So when it came to inviting our local pals around for a drink or two to acknowledge the New Year we decided that this time blunt was best.  The invite said ‘Drinks – come anytime from 2pm and clear off by 6pm.’  It worked.  We had a very jolly afternoon with 25 or so friends and neighbours hanging out in the sitting room and kitchen, wine flowed, conversation buzzed and the last of them left by 6.25pm. 


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