With the recent drama and the subsequent fallout I took a step back from being around certain groups of people; I don't go where I'm not wanted and I try to avoid people who are two faced. But I gave my word I'd do the catering for this event and I did the last day time HoWL but stayed at home.
Keep in mind that I start writing these journals a long time before the actual event; they may not be real time but as I start working on a specific thing to do with an event I tend to update and write something else.
So, it's the 24th June and I'm figuring out the quantities of food I need to cook and drafting the shopping list. Pretty much everything I made last time vanished in a puff of nom. This is good, however the numbers I was given and the numbers that showed up... I don't like people being hungry because I didn't cook enough.
This time I'll be doing two of the Oreo cakes, possibly a New York style cheese cake, several batches of the HoySin chicken wraps as well as sorting out some chicken tika flavoured ones and generally making up a batch of salad. I think I might try grilling or oven cooking the chicken rather than frying the strips off; reduced fat is always a good thing and drying it off never quite works as well as I hope.
One of the things I wanted to do this time is look at chilling things down a bit better, I'm figuring laying out a bunch of cold packs in the Norgie and using the inserts to carry the wraps should work well.
Of course... I've already figured out my outfit for the event itself.
It wasn't ready in time for Devotion (or rather it was literally ready for Devotion but we were in a hotel... in Birmingham) but it's ready now. The Mk3 "Pink Thing" as made by the two wonderfully talented people of Wicked Waist.
With a week to go, I was already working on if not the menu then the quantities that'd be required.
This is the aspect I think most people find surprising: the amount of sheer effort that goes in to making sure than on the day I make it look easy. Most people think that I just show up, do the job, go home... a few, more unsavoury types, seem convinced I collect a pay cheque from these things: Wish I did, maybe one day.
So during the week before HoWL, I'm sat there sorting out various things. For example, the Oreo cake that went down so well can be frozen or at the very least the biscuit base can; so two of those were sat in the freezer waiting for finishing. In an air tight tub are the batches of cookies that people seem to like and Friday night I was planning on cooking the chicken breasts that go in the wraps. In essence it's chipping away at the larger 'problem' so that when Saturday rolls around we can put the finishing touches to everything, pack it all in the car overnight and then Sunday... we're good to strut.
I've seen a few people go in raw and end up burning quite badly because they try very hard to be me, do it the way I do but because they don't have my meticulous planning (and the contingencies I build in to it) they end up bruised, battered and a little despondent. That's a trick from a maid: plan EVERYTHING. If it can go wrong, it will go wrong, what is your contingency?
Eventually it becomes second nature but I digress.
We actually had a minor screw up on our end, both myself and my Owner thought the event started at 2pm, ran till 8pm. We figured: Leave at 10am, arrive at MzWhipplash's for noon, load up the remaining stuff, finish getting changed, leave 12:30 or so.
Nah. Doors open at noon. So both of us were up at 6:30am, showering, caffeinating (although I've noticed I'm drinking a lot less of the stuff) and... strapping my ass in to a pink dress. Corset, stockings, the full regalia. Although we found a small issue with the undercarriage attire; the laces used to tie the bags up were not in a serviceable state... so neither the Mk3 or Mk1 were available... it was a 10min fix but we had to forgo it. Contingency? A pair of white satin knickers and loading the car up the night before.
Of course this meant that everyone we drove past saw me in a pretty pink dress... I hope they enjoyed what they saw :)
We arrived at MzWhipplash's just before 10am, loaded the car with the remaining items and her toy bags before I put the finishing touches to my outfit; namely the cap and the gloves. I also had to sort out my makeup but that pretty much goes without saying.
Traffic was actually with us on the way to DV8 and we pulled up in the car park at about 11:15am, with our get-in time being 11:30 at the earliest. Pretty good going I thought!
With the help a lovely male sub who showed up early we were able to unpack the car in record time and start getting everything ready, it might have garnered a few odd looks as the main meal wasn't due until 3pm but I set out 6 sets of crockery; I figured that when stuff started happening it was going to be fast and furious so it was better to get ahead of the game. So one of the two cakes I'd made was also sliced up and left to defrost itself whilst we tried to fish the second one out of the carrier... someone... who won't be named... but her name begins with a 'T'... in a bid to be helpful had somehow managed to wedge the tin inside the lid of the plastic carrier.
Well, this is why I deal with service and she deals with music. Really... you wouldn't want me working the turntables. I mean I'd just play a whole host of random junk and leave it at that; I'm not a DJ, what do I know? :) With my tray prepared and sat on the side with cookies on it I set about getting the coffee machines running, trouble shooting a few issues and moving to contingency plans on the few occasions I couldn't get it going again; happily most people there (well everyone beyond myself, the house slave and MzWhipplash) remained blissfully unaware that anything untoward had happened and continued enjoying themselves.
As the day progressed a few of us ended up weather watching, it looked like rain and rain was forecast but then a little while later... it looked like a sunny summers day and rain was forecast... so for us behind the scenes the big question became: Where would we be taking the food? It was getting pretty close to 3pm and finally it was decided that come hell, high water or the rain, people wanted to eat outside. So, issue settled and we started gearing up for that.
Despite the very flash outfit I'd elected to wear I spent most of my time indoors and in the kitchen. Kind of a reverse peacock I guess. It sounds odd but keeping everyone running, plates washed and all of the background stuff needed for the other two to shine is kind of important, sure nobody knows you're beavering away but you really see a Chef when the kitchen is working... same thing applies here. Rest assured that I was grinning like an idiot and tripping balls after service had finished.
In between the main meal and serving up the cake I did a quite round trip with my tray; this time loaded down with wraps. We were also bringing out second (and third) helpings of the paella, but I wanted to buy as much time as possible to cycle the plates we were using; get them clean, dry and ready to go out again with the cake. I will admit that this plan didn't go quite as expected... I ended up collecting empties, washing up everything, drying it and laying out as many plates as I could as rapidly as I could each with a slice of cake. Urge to whip someone rising
With the majority of this aspect dealt with the second trip through the washing up bowel for the plates ended up with them being loaded in to their carrying box and put away. I do need to figure out a better system for storage of the gear, it works with the current quantities but adding anything extra is impossible. As we need to expand what we bring... the sooner or later has most certainly become just sooner.
I couldn't tell you what people were getting up to as, by the time I was able to put my head above the parapet and look around in ernest... people had pretty much finished whatever it was they were doing and were relaxing. By the time they were doing whatever it was again... I was packing away things; as I said at the time I was just keeping on top of things so the final 5 - 10 min wasn't a mad dash to pack up and do the get out.
As it happened, the last 5 - 10min of the event were quite well... uneventful from my end. I sent our regulars off with goody bags of cookies, I kind of wish I could of sent the cake off with them as well. People were quite fond of that little blend of chocolates I concocted (you heard it hear first folks, even if you find the recipe online you won't get a HoWL chocolate tart from it). With a bit of light help hauling stuff out to Bismarck we were ready for the trip home and bid a fond farewell to DV8 and the two supervisors who'd kept us company.
But this isn't where the 'fun' stops. On the way back we ended up caught in the traffic jam caused by a pile up on the M25. So there we were in Bismarck, sat in traffic chatting and MzWhipplash mentions cookies. Then she starts REALLY wanting a cookie. Now Bismarck is big and Bismarck can haul ass when it wants to but there was no way in hell I could clamber around in the back wearing a corset! I did try but really? I couldn't quite bend enough. So... in the end my Owner, who by now also wanted a cookie, jumped out the car. In the middle of the M25, ran to the boot grabbed the cookie tin and then jumped back in the drivers seat! I wonder just what people around us thought was happening. It wasn't until we got back to base that MzWhipplash had a final surprise.
When I told her we had a tin full of cookies, a complete HoWL cake and "8 litres of wraps" I was in no way, shape, or form joking. So I pulled out the first container from the Norgie. It was nearly empty, then I pulled out the second one which was nearly full. Then the slightly demolished cookie tin and finally a complete cake. I think everyone was surprised by not only how much was initially prepared but how little people ate... as was the case on The Boat, I heard a few people say "I ate before I came". shrug
After leaving Romford we ended up stuck in yet another traffic jam caused by yet another pile up on the M25. Whilst I hope everyone involved in the crashes is Ok I do have to wonder what on earth was happening that day, as if I'm honest people seemed to be driving quite aggressively or at the very least more aggressive than is usual for a Sunday on the M25... so either it was just one of those days or there was something happening elsewhere that attracted a large crowd.
Either way that was the end of the July 2015 HoWL, it went well, everyone seemed happy, the food from both myself and the house slave were well received and honestly? Yeah, it was a blast. Hopefully more people come along to the next one.