2013 was welcomed in with a dinner of foie gras, salmon, cheese to die for, and champagne at Jim Haynes apartment.
This was an unusual event. Dinner at Jim’s is normally held on a Sunday, and he usually wraps it up around 11pm but he decided to do a special New Year’s eve dinner for a privileged few. 21 to be exact. He was told by the chef of the night, no more, no less and that, is what he did.
It was a rainy night and I arrived late under the shelter of my disintegrating umbrella.
As I peered through the glass door, before letting myself in to Jim’s apartment, I could hear him calling out my name, as I walked through the door, Jim sprung into action and made the announcement that I had finally arrived. She has arrived.
Always the perfect host, Jim had already begun introducing me, while at the same time, taking off my coat and scarf and before I knew it, a glass of wine was in one hand and a plate of foie gras in the other, which made it difficult, as I was lead around the room to meet the other guests, unable to shake their hands.
As usual, it was a mixed crowd of young and old from far and wide, including Jim’s friends. As I moved through the room, I met a costume and set designer, who lives in Milan. He and his friend, arranged a rendez-vous in Paris, to celebrate the New Year together. A lovely Australian couple, frequent visitors to Paris, were tres gentile and a woman from America told me about her visit to the markets with a cooking class she attended.
All the time, Seamus was working hard at the stove, dishing up the fine food in his usual cheeky manner and Jim, in his festive red apron, mingling with his guests ensuring everyone had met one another.
By the time the clock struck 12, and turned from 2012 to 2013, Champagne, French Champagne, of course, was shared around as we sang Auld Lang Syne. After many new years eves under my belt, I still haven’t managed to learn the lyrics!
We sipped champagne into the first hours of the new year, nibbling from a plate of fine French cheeses, Hannah set herself to work, washing up piles of dirty dishes.
Finally, we braved the rain and arrived at the metro station, only to discover it was closed. Four of us stood, on a street corner, in the pouring rain, with a crowd of Paris revellers, all in the hope that we could get a taxi.
Jim’s friend, the chef of the wonderful salmon, her white umbrella, standing out in the crowd, suddenly vanished. We feared for her safety and couldn’t understand how she could disappear so quickly.
The rain was relentless as we stood huddled together trying to flag down a cab, still searching for her white umbrella.
Within minutes, a taxi abruptly came to a halt beside us, as if appearing from nowhere. Our chariot awaited us.
There she was, our heroine, the vanishing chef, sans white umbrella, calling out to us from the open window of the taxi, ‘jump in’. Without further ado we escaped the rain and the crowds and were on our way home.
While we were marvelling, at her ingenuity in finding a taxi, against the odds, we watched from the comfort of the taxi, as we passed two girls on a Moped, mini skirts and stilettos, braving the rain. Our taxi driver winds down the window – bonne annee, he shouts.
Bonne Annee indeed.