They're getting older these people and I find it poignant, disturbing and worrying to think of the people who would have been there a few years ago and who are no longer alive. It reminds me of how lucky I am that my olds are still around, even though they're both more mental than a bag of psychotic extra strong mints.
On top of that there are a number of their long term friends who've now retired to foreign climes, foreign that is, if you're based in the UK. Many have returned to the motherland where their sterling goes a bit further and some have brightened other areas of the world with their presence.
The crowd was very white with a small smattering of Lankans and other internationals, yet the flavour of the evening was distinctly British. I couldn't help comparing it with how it would have been if my parents had been in Sri Lanka and held it there. Even in their seventies I reckon there would have been much more alcohol, music and generally joyous behaviour. Music played very much a tertiary role in this party. There were some notes wafting around randomly in the background but the volume was so low that I can't tell you what it was.
The conversation was decent and polite. In my case there was lots of telling people about A and K, what they're up to (at least the bits I know about) and quite a bit of telling people about C too. One or two more adventurous types even asked about me.
Much amusement was had by me and Academic Bro as we witnessed some of the older crowd thinking we were each other, or Music Biz Bro, who couldn't be there because of a work thing.
Through all this polite Britishness my Mum managed to produce one of her more golden moments, a chunk of pure Sri Lankan motherness that, for once, I wasn't on the receiving end of.
There was myself and Academic Bro talking to Uncle K. You know Uncle K, he's the oldish retired lawyer with three grown up daughters. Nice bloke, very into cars and most captivating to chat with.
Well we were chewing the cud about something, with my Mum hovering dangerously on the fringe of the conversation when it veered towards the matter of A, one of Uncle K's daughters. Strangely I've never met any of these daughters but I know a bit about them. I believe they're roughly the same ages as myself and my two brothers and that they're mainly married and have kids and that sort of stuff now.
One of uncle K's daughters, the one called A, appeared, not in real life but as subject matter in the conversation. I mentioned that I'd never met her and Academic Bro mentioned that he had met her, though didn't know her very well.
At this point my Mum decided to do some damage and pounced.
"Yes you remember A, you used to quite like her didn't you." she accented the "quite like her" bit.
Us men exchanged glances. Uncle K, the father of the girl concerned made a polite attempt to shift the conversation, but my Mum was wise to this and planted it firmly back on course.
"Yes yes, remember you used to fancy her" she said, just to clear up any doubt.
Uncle K and Academic Bro, had they entered a competition at that moment to find the most awkwardly embarrassed people in the world, would have come joint first. If, at the same time there had been a competition for smug git, I reckon I would have been in with a good shout and, had there been one for most blissfully unaware of what she'd done, my Mum would have been making a thank you speech.
Academic Bro had a sheepish look on his face. This made me wonder if he might have slept with the girl and added to my feeling of smugness. He was in a seriously precarious position. What should a fellow do when faced with this scenario?
Does he deny all? Perhaps saying that he wouldn't have touched her with a bargepole and thereby incurring the wrath of the father. Does he admit to things and say that actually she liked things a bit kinky? Or jump out of the window.
He's not called Academic Bro for nothing. Actually in reality he's not actually called Academic Bro at all. His large brain ticked over, recalling his years of study, critical thinking and knowledge gathering. Then he came out with his response. It was a brilliant example of lateral thinking, pushing the envelope and running fish up the flagpole to see if they swim.
He pursed his lips and made a hissing sound. A bit like a child making spit bubbles when they've just discovered the concept. Then, as a follow up, he did it again.
Uncle K, quite a diplomatic sort, moved the conversation on this time. I haven't a clue what about as I was laughing inwardly too much.
Later on, as I dropped Academic at the station he said to me:
"Just for the record I never fancied A you know."
We chuckled and he said how relieved he was that his newish wife wasn't part of that conversation. Both of us knew that our Mother would have said exactly the same thing if she'd been there.
It was a close escape. I almost felt for the fellow.