The party was huge, with people crowding everywhere; a Brazilian friend of the hosts was singing Latin American popular songs and guests stood around in knots, craning their necks to see the singer. The overflow was in the hall, and others, who had no interest in the music, were talking in subdued voices, either in the rooms nearer the front of the house or blocking the entrance door.
She left halfway through the concert, having to go to her own house to see to some dishes of party food she’d left to finish cooking, before taking them back to the hosts’; a neighbour had promised to help her carry the two large, heavy dishes. She’d asked him to follow her home in about fifteen minutes.
When he arrived he said the concert hadn’t finished and they decided to have a glass of wine while waiting for the food to continue browning. They also assumed that they would find it impossible to push through the crowds and force their way into the kitchen. Ten minutes later they checked the food and it was fine. Taking the dishes out of the oven they realised that they were far too hot to carry, even wearing oven gloves. They decided to have another glass of wine while waiting for the dishes to cool a little. They took the bottle into the living room, sat down and started a conversation.
When they returned to the party they found they had been missed. They were greeted with cries of “where have you been?” The concert had ended just a few minutes after the neighbour had followed her to fetch the dishes and food was to be served immediately. Various assumptions had been made as to the reason for their delayed arrival. 'Had she suddenly fallen ill - she was usually so very reliable - had the food been spoiled, had they slipped on wet grass, had one of them tripped over the bars of the cattle grid in the dark, had they dropped the dishes . . . . . .'
Not aware of having done anything wrong, they didn’t apologise. Her food was gone within minutes.