Every couple of months (approximately) we have a lunchtime get-together for Richard's colleagues and their families. It's usually at our house, since it's fairly central and we have plenty of space. Also, I'm home during the morning, and don't have to collect children from school around 1pm.
Today, one of the Egyptian colleagues is here and it's his 31st birthday, so it seemed a good day to plan one of these lunches. Each family brings a contribution so it's not all up to me; my job today was bread, cheese and salads. I went out to buy a couple of loaves of bread; I can only do one at a time in the breadmaker, so it was simpler just to get some from the Perseus bakery which is about five minutes' walk from our house. On the way back I went to the Achna Froutaria to pick up some more fruit and veg.
By the time I was home again it was 11am... I'm not entirely sure where the morning went, but I don't think I'd sat down for a couple of hours by then. We had some rain and a mild thunderstorm about 9am so I had to rush to bring in yesterday's laundry from the line. Then when it finished, the windows looked dreadful - dusty and streaked, as it didn't rain all that long. So I cleaned several of them. Oh, and somewhat sorted out the fridge, too, so I'd have room for my salads.
I made my standard coleslaw, and a pseudo-Greek salad (lettuce, chopped tomatoes, chopped cucumber, chopped feta cheese), and a plate of carrot and cucumber sticks and pieces of yellow pepper, to dip in hummus. Also, since I like to experiment occasionally, this quinoa and sweet potato salad, which required some cooking - and which turned out very well.
I didn't think it would take that long (I never do) but by the time I'd put those together, and organised and set the table - actually two tables, since there were going to be fourteen of us in all - it was one o'clock. I'd hoped to take a quick shower before everyone arrived, but no chance of that.
It all went well; someone else brought tuna, ham, and egg mayo, and another family brought desserts and a birthday cake. Then Richard took the 'birthday boy' off for an afternoon sailing, with one of the other families.
Everyone had left shortly after 3pm. So I pottered around the kitchen, cleaned out the mat drawer as it was looking pretty grubby, threw away paper napkins and olive stones, put all the leftover food in the fridge.. and loaded the dishwasher. Everything fitted perfectly. Then I put away the extra leaves in the table, took the extra chairs back to the various places I'd taken them from... and the house was back to normal in under an hour, with minimal effort.
We've been in this house with the dishwasher for two and a quarter years now, but I haven't yet reached the stage of taking it for granted. I am VERY glad to have it every Friday when our house group (usually between eight and twelve people) have a meal here, and I'm also very thankful for it on days like today.
Neither of us was very hungry this evening, so I just made us some peach smoothies, and we ate salad leftovers.