THE DREADED PARTY
S U N D A Y, 1 J A N
Dreading tonight. Felt sick all day.
At 7.30 I changed into my bloomy dress. Put my hair in bunches, and we dropped Chump off at the Reids. Lucky, lucky thing.
Mummy and me were shown up to Mrs Hamilton-Browne’s boudoir to leave our coats, and then we went down to the drawing-room. Ghastly expensive furniture - of course, they're nearly millionaires. Sarah came up - 14 but taller than me - and I asked if I could see the kitchen (as Ma and Pa converted it). I escaped and spoke as long as I could to Mrs Stokes, the Cook. Back up to the drawing-room I couldn’t recognise anyone without my glasses but Fiona Scott and Pat Walker came up to me - relief relief. Fiona’s terribly nice and Pat is quite sweet but has funny ideas - she says she wants lots of servants!!
Very intelligent academically but otherwise narrow-minded. He said things like “philosophy sounds a terrible bore” and stayed with us the rest of the evening. He’ll be a dreary little businessman when he grows up.
All the time I had a ghastly tummy-ache from worry and felt frightful. I loathed every minute of it. We went into another room where a buffet was laid out. I felt too sick to eat it. Went into the billiard-room, dimly lit with a reddish light. Chatted and ate. They put records on but there wasn’t any dancing - a terrible relief.
Then this rather nice boy called John came up to me and I began to enjoy myself more. He’d been skiing and loved it. He said he was doing accountancy and loathed it. I asked him why didn’t he go to university and he said his boarding school hadn’t encouraged it. That’s what I can’t understand about these public school types – they don’t seem to have got any encouragement school-wise. People don’t realise what they’re letting themselves in for when they go to dumpy schools. It’s all for snob reasons too - that’s what’s sickening about it. I’m jolly glad I go to a grammar.
At 10.15 I took my leave and went back into the drawing-room where Ma and Pa were chatting to an awfully nice American couple. I stayed with them about 20 minutes. That was the best bit. We picked up Chump from the Reids and tasted some of Mr Reid’s home-made wines. The raspberry one’s nice. We saw some marvellous pictures Mrs Reid did in India, and left at 11.30.
It’s all over now. Thank God.
Shift dresses had dominated the mid-60s scene, so the babydoll dress felt floaty and new. Fitted under the bosom, it flowed into a tent-like shape and was easy to wear. Sleeves were bell-shaped, hems were high. The dress at the party, dark purple, patterned with tiny flowers, was from Neatawear - the Topshop of the time. The dress here appeared in American Vogue January 1967.