Sunday, November 16, 2008

Wow, I'm impressed!

Well, Grumbelina went to the ball last night, and from beginning to end she had a stunning time! Thank goodness she forced herself into her black party gear. It was worth the effort, despite all her whinging and moaning whilst struggling into black figure-slimming (read support-hose) stockings. 

Note to self: Always wear real, and real comfortable dancing shoes to any kind of UK-ish event that involves dancing. If you go for killer heels or statuesque elegance, you'll be bashing yourself in the head with those Jimmy Choo's an hour into the evening. You have been warned.

We were piped in to the Ball, which involves kilt-wearing bagpipers busting a gut to make the most noise music possible as guests walk past. The bagpipe music, especially in the entirely tile-and-marble finished Hilton lobby, reverberated in a way that was quite terrifying. Mr D went into a semi-trance, tripped slightly at the escalator, and found himself landing practically face first in the swelling décolletage of a gorgeous Polish woman. 

"And may I introduce myself?"

Ah, so suave!

At dinner I sat next to an immensely entertaining French banker, who gave me some marvelous travel tips for the côte d'Azur. On my other side was a handsome and sporty Pole who also spoke excellent English, so all conversations were totally tip-top.

We had Chopin vodka, and Scottish salmon, and Scottish beef, and of course the obligatory haggis which was divine. The dessert was a luxurious tiramisu, and each course was accompanied by wines, and endless taster tots of Scotch whiskies. Needless to say, my French speaking abilities improved ENORMOUSLY over the course of the evening.

The trick with a Scottish dinner and dancing event is to moderate your alcohol intake so that you're loosened up enough to take part in the ceilidh, but you aren't so sloshed that you end up arse-over-tea-kettle halfway through the reel.

After the pipers piped and the drummers drummed and the food was consumed, we all got up for some traditional Scottish country dancing

When I was in elementary school, we had a folk dancing "unit" for a couple of weeks every year. I never never never imagined I'd call upon this ancient instruction.  Just goes to show you, pay attention in school. There's a reason you're learning this stuff. You may eventually be at a Scottish black-tie dinner in Warsaw Poland and you will wish you'd tried harder in PE class, by golly.

We reeled up and down, and twirled and crossed, and though I wouldn't give us top marks for form, we won big-time for our enthusiasm and hilarity.

Here's the little Polish twist to the story, however. 

In all the ruckus of arm grabbing and whirling and passing and reeling, at least 5 people lost various pieces of clothing and jewelry. 

It's that wild and rough, folks. People came off the dance floor with their clothes hanging off their bodies in tattered rags.

No, not really.

But incredibly, here in Poland, people turn in lost things that they find. They are so unbelievably honest. It's quite astonishing and so heartening, as I became such a cynic after Africa. (And London, truth to be told!)

So my bracelet, which I hadn't even realised was missing, was returned to me.

I must say, I've been having strange luck lately, as I also won not one but two raffle prizes. A lovely bottle of Famous Grouse, and a photobook of Scotland. Mmmm, mmmm.

One lucky lady, eh? I didn't find the ginger-haired lad to snog behind the potted plant, but I guess I'll have to save some fun for next year, yeah?


pinolona said...

I LOVE ceilidh dancing! I can't think of anything better than a Polish-Scottish combination party... Lucky you!
(ps I have to confess I haven't been to a single black tie event since the turn of the millennium - university things don't count).

expateek said...

Isn't dancing wonderful? I adore gaiety and play! The rest of life can just be so damned depressing. Good to leave all one's cares behind, at least for one short evening.

(I AM extra lucky because Child Number 4 is a student at Edinburgh. More opportunities for kilts and sporrans and ceilidh and wha'not.)

Ahh, university things do too count. Enjoy them, life's short enough.

The keynote speech was quite political. All about the importance of Scottish independence... who knew? I admit this was news to me but perhaps Scotland will be the new Luxembourg? Or at least it could be independent until North Sea oil runs out.

Anyway, the Scots are already wooing the Poles with sexy videos of riffling trout streams and castles and kilts, so... the game's afoot. And with the dancing... well... it's a match made in heaven!