I arrived at Anna’s to find eight women clustered around the kitchen table carving pumpkins, for this was indeed a ‘Pumpkin Party’. “Choose one and get started!” said my hostess.
A cute green one looked appealing and I picked her up placing her on the table whilst I searched for a glass.
“Do you know Anna from ‘Landspot’?” Gertrude asked. “No, I’ve never done that course” I replied. She started to tell me about it and insisted that I must come to the ‘Sex and Intimacy’ seminar on Thursday. I said I wasn’t sure – that I was working, and having acquired a glass of cava decided it was time to get cracking.
I sat down and contemplated the job at hand. “Did you celebrate Halloween when you were a child” I asked Natasha. “Oh yes, we used to go trick or treating in Carterton – Oxfordshire”. “Yes, but did you actually do any tricks?” I asked, remembering a trip around deepest Hamilton Terrace – one of the handsomest roads in London a couple of years ago – where it was just about treats. Amongst the smoke machines and life size skeletons children queued on the steps at those glorious villas to wait for their booty.
Natasha continued “Absolutely, we had a great trick called ’52 card pick up’”. ‘You asked at the door ‘Trick or treat?’ and when anyone responded ‘trick’ you’d throw a deck of cards on the ground and tell them to pick them up!’
I laughed, continuing to carve, and moved on to an artichoke tea to accompany my slice of freshly made pumpkin pie. It was a subtle mouthful as pumpkin pie can be, with a hint of ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon and cardamon to persuade the flavour of this seasonal vegetable to shine.
“You really should come to the ‘Sex and Intimacy’” seminar on Thursday Gertrude persisted. “Thank you, but I can’t” I repeated, “I’d really love to – but it’s just not going to be possible”.
I placed my pumpkin on the table with the others. Candles were put inside them all and the lights turned out. Nine pumpkins lined up to attention, softly glowing – some with teeth, some smiling, some grimacing, some downright scary. And, mine. “I never saw a winking, green pumpkin before with a hat” said Gertrude. “She’s Irish” I replied, and I’m calling her ‘Ladies Day’”.
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