Now that we have been in Fibrotown for two and a half years, The Builder and I are beginning to notice a little bit of, er, repetition in our social calendar. The various community fundraisers that provide the ‘events’ in a town of this size, all tend to fall around the same time each year, and take on a similar format from year to year. Which, I confess, can lead to a little bit of ‘ho hum’ in our attitude towards them. But complacency can often be misplaced.
Last night, we fronted up to our third annual Hall-Near-Fibrotown Ball. We’ve had a good time in each of the previous years, but were suffering a case of the ‘why bothers’ this year. We knew the format would be the same, the band unchanged, the faces would be similar – even the fashion wouldn’t hold too many surprises as many women I knew, including myself, were planning to wear the same frock as last year, with new accessories. But, it was for a good cause, and we live by the rule that it’s churlish to pass up the chance for a night out in an area where they don’t come up that much, so we frocked up and headed out into the cold and rain.
We began with a cocktail and a cheese plate at Fibrotown’s cocktail bar. Just the two of us, on a sofa, in our finery, enjoying the chance to be grown-ups. “Going somewhere?” asked the barman, nodding towards The Builder’s dinner suit with red rose buttonhole. “Just home to watch DVDs,” he responded with a straight face. (Yes, we crack ourselves up.)
We arrived at the ball half an hour early – note to self: check the invitation next time – and were promptly dispatched to a friend’s house in the next paddock for a pre-ball drink (at which point I was wishing I’d gone with my threat to wear gumboots this year). By the time we returned, the queue for entry stretched beyond the red carpet and into the mud, which gave us plenty of time to catch up with a few people in the line. One of the brilliant things about the ball – which we’d forgotten during the ‘why bothers’ – is the opportunity to catch up. So many friends in one place, with nobody required to wash up or placate the neighbours.
It was a wonderful night. The best yet. The ball went by in a flash, a series of happy moments (picture one of those sentimental montages they do halfway through schmaltzy movies). There was a lot of laughing, joking and talking. Some quieter moments spent perched on a hay bale, morphing acquaintances into friends. Perhaps a tiny bit of foot stomping and hip shimmying. There may or may not even have been some interpretive dance.
Before we knew it, we were squashed into a cab with our town friends, reliving the highlights, all of us talking about how much fun we’d had. Expectations are everything, aren’t they? It’s when you have none that you get the best surprises.
[image: next year, I may be in the same dress again (why mess with a great formula), but I’ll be working it back with a pair of wellie boots with knitted boot cuffs, such as these by VintageOfNow/etsy]