A progressive dinner as it is known in the US or safari supper in the UK is a dinner party with successive courses eating the residences of various hosts. It involves the consumption of one course at each location and involves travel.
We all met at the normal Probus venue and after president Neil had welcomed all, he spoke a few words about Grant. Although Grant wasn't on the committee (as I am) he always sat in on meetings and helped where he could. I also told Neil the week before the dinner that Grant and I were going to attend the dinner so I would be there. As the Newsletter editor, I will continue to go to each meeting every month as well.
Everything about this evening is secret until you arrive at your host. You only hear where you're headed for shortly before and your host only sees who her guests are when they arrive. Each host (and every couple hosted a course; due to the circumstances, I was let off the hook) receives directives a week before the night of the dinner. He/she may have a gluten intolerant guest; they may have a vegetarian or they may have a diabetic. And they have to cater accordingly. They also have to supply the refreshments.
We were given our instructions at 6.30 and admonished not to waste time! We were told to read our instructions in our cars.
My first destination was to dear friends, Lynette and Estelle. Lynettte is a 60 - something single woman here in the Valley; her neighbour, Estelle's husband works away during the week so these two incorrigible ladies teamed up for the night.
As I arrived at Lynette's house, I was met wtih squeals of "so you're our vegetarian!"
I'm standing between our hosts, Estelle and Lynette
I was served with chickpea hummus and aubergine pate a bed of lettuce
At 7.15, Lynette opened her instruction envelope and gave each of us ours. My next destination was Ruda and Hennie who would've been our neighbours had Grant and I gone to live in the cottage in Bergview. The private estate, Bergview is up a steep and winding road. I passed Caroline's house where Grant and I stayed for six weeks and drove up Ruda's steep drive.
As I got out of my car, Ruda came out of the house and said: "Oh , so you're our vegetarian!" (where've I heard this before!)
It was Ruda's first experience hosting a progressive dinner course and she lost her voice because she stressed so! She made me a delicious lentil stew served with couscous. She also had a huge tossed salad with interesting additions like chunks of roasted butternut, cranberries and pecan nuts.
In the short time Grant and I lived in Bergview, I got to know Ruda and Hennie well. They are avid birders and Ruda helped me to identify a woodpecker I photographed in my garden shortly before we moved to Steve and Estelle. I also passed Ruda's back gate every day when I walked the dogs on the estate. Eddie, to whom nothing was sacred would dart into Ruda's house run around until she found her and would jump up and greet her. Ruda loved Eddie and told me that night how she missed our walks past her back door.
Our main course was at the home of Hennie and Ruda seated at the top of the table
By now the time had marched on to 9.15. Hennie opened his envelope and passed us all our next instructions. Mine was to another address in Bergview; the exquisite home of Malcolm and Karen McLaughlin. Apart from the minimalistic splendour (is this an oxymoron or what?) of their home, I just loved the casual manner in which especially, Karen presented the artistic dessert creation.
Apple crumble, apple roses fashioned from puff pastry and caramel sauce served with a blob of vanilla icecream was decadent and delicious
Shelley and Stuart Longmore are seated at the glass table set on a dried tree trunk while Karen and Malcolm put finishing touches to the dessert
By now with the time at 10.30, we'd finished our pudding and it was time to move onto the final destination. This was at a Guest House called Wits End. Here we were served with coffee, shortbread and Christmas mince pies.
It was time to find out who hosted which course and who ate with whom. With 40 members taking part that night, you dined a different set of people every time
Estelle and moi
Here I am again, with Estelle and Lynette
Great fun and a great ending to our Probus year.