When we first came to Auckland, we went to a party full of British people, specially from a very small corner of the North West (just like at home really!). Now that we've been here a little while, we've met people from all over the place, but you really can't beat the quick satire and charm of a sarcastic "Pom".
With that in mind - this entry is about Laura's dinner party. Given our lengthy daily commute - it's actually more convenient for us to go immediately out after work than it is for us to go home. I promise that's not just a convenient excuse for post-work beers...
Laura's place is a half hour walk from my work, via Jane's work so we headed up straight after our conventional Friday commitments, via a bottle shop for wine. We tend to chose wine based on if it's from New Zealand and if it has a cute animal (or a criminal) on it. This system is arguably flawed as it doesn't really consider any characteristics of the wine itself, but it's efficient and rarely lets us down. On this particular night, lizard wine and fantail wine were fantastic choices.
When we arrived, Laura greeted us a knife. Thankfully this is because she was right in the thick of cooking a huge Indian-style banquet - not because she's a psycho-killer (Qu'est-ce que c'est?). I think she made eight dishes in total but if she reads this, I'm sure she'll correct me. We noticed an Indian takeaway next door and I'm still a little skeptical about the authenticity of our home-cooked feast. I'm kidding, it was truly fantastic and definitely home-made! Aside from the naan bread which did originate from the takeaway (and was also fab).
Our company for the night was a rather random selection of human beings, including some genuine Kiwis (humans not birds) and a handful of Mancunians for good measure. One of the Kiwi's was Aaron. Aaron is a 40 year old, wanna-be DJ whom Laura had met on Tinder. To say he stuck out like a sore thumb would be too kind. At one point he even had us all hold hands around the table (I'm still not really sure why) and was offended when showed some resistance. Bearing in mind, most of the people in the room didn't know each other, this was certainly an interesting ice-breaker. The other Kiwi was Tom. Tom, unlike Aaron, absolutely nailed the subtleties of British conversation (self-deprecation, puns and the like) - a true natural.
Chatter was a little forced for the first half of dinner, until the social WD-40 took effect (wine). Joking aside, I think the slow starting conversation was more to do with the awesome food. It was the kind of silence that descends on the table when taste buds are suitably tingled.
Post-dinner entertainment was (mostly) provided by Aaron's participation in the classic game of Articulate and one...er...not so classic game called "Most Likely To".
Articulate was absolutely hilarious as most of the teams were made of people who have never met. This gave Jane and I an unfair advantage, which (as two very competitive people) we absolutely relished. We narrowly avoided any leaving-me-alone-in-New-Zealand-to-fend-for-myself-in-the-wild worthy arguments and even managed to relax enough to laugh at the other teams. I am not exaggerating at all when I say that I have never seen two people with less of a connection than Tom and Aaron. Laura allocated them to the same team for the arbitrary reason that they were both New Zealanders - I think they moved seven squares the whole game. Amateurs.
Things got a little heated between the Mancs when the question of "which Arctic Monkeys album should we play?" came up, but we resolved to play it safe with AM. Later on, our resident DJ decided to interrupt "Arabella" to play his own electronic mixes. Not a good move, mate.
The next game, "Most Likely To", is a party game with a very simple format. Each person takes a set number of pieces of paper and writes down a bunch of things that someone could be most likely to do. These can either be not-so-subtle digs at one another ("most likely to leave you deodorant on top of the van", for example), or just generic comments, e.g. "most likely to play AM at a party" . The slips then go into a bowl and everyone takes turns to draw them out at random until the bowl is empty.
Then comes the fun part! Each player assigns the comments to the person that you believe is most likely to. No surprises but "most likely to be terrible at Articulate" went straight to our new friend Aaron (and straight over his head). The joke being lost made the whole situation much funnier, but we all had a good time anyway and the night shortly moved on (as all good dinner parties do) to a karaoke bar.