The event began very well. People arrived in time, the event organiser company had the table seating so well worked out that there was no confusion, and all seemed happy with their table-mates. Leo headed one table, I another, Gerard yet another. Carlo had been roped in over lunch and he headed up yet another.
A local minister to whom these events were like spring water was the MC. His opening address was brief and to the point, but it did include the fact that Leo had rescued me from the rubble. It was part of explaining the involvement we both have as the heads of Friends of the Orphanage organisation.
The evening progressed so well, I kept wondering when some glitch would happen.
The food was delicious, well presented local specialities adapted to feed a large number at the same time. It was all beautifully presented.
The music was very well received.
A local auctioneer had volunteered his time to run the auction of the donated objects. These had swelled with other donations, including a case of an excellent local champagne, usually sold out at the vineyard and never seeing the inside of a shop.
At the end of the auction, the winner of the secret prize was to be announced. But first the prize. We all roared with laughter. A weekend fly fishing with Gerard at his ‘bungalo’ up in the highlands. It is well known that he has never invited anyone there as a guest, so this was indeed to be a special prize.
The winner? That was probably the most entertaining part. Mrs W, a local wealthy widow, well known for her charitable efforts, and a socialite of note, better known for appearing on yachts owned by the wealthy and famous, rather than being in the rough outdoors.
Delightfully she promised to go and buy the appropriate clothing, seemingly happily anticipating a shopping spree.
Then time for the finale, Carlo to sing for us. His backing musicians seemed to me slightly drunk, as did he. Not too alarming, just a little too relaxed.
The music was wonderful. Everyone joining in for a few favourites. Then for the final, the national anthem, Leo escorted the two orphans who were to sing with him.
He and Carlo exchanged handshakes, smiles and thanks, and Carlo took the microphone to say a few words.
That was when the evening took on a whole new aspect.