Wednesday, October 12, 2011

WILLOW MANOR BALL 2011


Tonight, tonight
The world is full of light
With suns and moons all over the place...

Welcome to the cyber event of the year!  Willow Manor is bathed in soft candlelight and armloads of my favorite yellow roses. Like Mrs. Dalloway, I insisted on buying the flowers myself. The carpets are rolled back, ready for some waltzes, tangos, two-steps, and twists. Valentino said tile floors are best for the tango, but the creaky hardwood floors at the manor will do the trick.


We dance for laughter,
we dance for tears, we dance for madness,
we dance for fears, we dance for hopes,
we dance for screams, we are the dancers,
we create the dreams.
Albert Einstein

Please check into the comment section of this post and let us know you've arrived, and who might be accompanying you. If you would like us to visit your blog, to admire your lovely attire and date, make sure you sign the Mr. Linky widget at the end of this post.


Thank you so much for coming.  I hope you enjoy the evening, which is miraculously lasting a whole 24 hours.  Remember, everyone who leaves a comment today, will be considered a guest, and eligible for one of two elegant door prizes.  So, please come in and enjoy the manor magic.



The band has already started up.  Leonard Cohen, our traditional Willow Manor Ball Master of Ceremonies, is unfortunately unable to be here tonight.  Lenny rang last night, home on the sofa, with a nasty case of bedbug bites, from his last gig in Bratislava.  

But, I am proud to announce, the brilliantly talented Melody Gardot has agreed to fill in.  There were no flights, soshe drove all night from Philly, arriving just minutes ago, looking absolutely stunning. Mel's already unleashing some of her delicious scat. 







Speaking of les etoiles, Lucille Ball is the first to make a grand entrance, escorted by the magnificent Erich von Stroheim.  Not wanting to be remembered for his role of Max in Sunset Blvd., he chooses full military attire over tuxedo, which I must admit is very becoming, if not a little frightening.  I wonder if he keeps the gloves on while he dances? The touch of a gloved hand is so very sensuous. I shall soon find out.

As I show her to the powder room, for a little freshening of that bright red lipstick, Lucy promises to let me borrow her amazing white fox.  She always looks very statuesque on the screen, so I am surprised to see that she is just my height, 5' 7". Her red hair is brilliant and she dazzles with confidence.

Oh, confidence reminds me, my escort for the evening is the inimitable and enigmatic R.A.D. Stainforth, yes, the same Stainforth who reads my poetry from time to time.  Mr. Stainforth has impeccable taste in music, and was so kind as to help with this evening's selections.  The latest scuttlebutt is the "R" in R.A.D. stands for Ronaldo, and that his mother is Argentinian. 



He is due to arrive any moment, and I am more than a tad nervous, since I've never actually seen him, not even a photo. He tells me he'll be wearing a white gardenia in his lapel. I've instructed Phipps to keep an eye out for his dark blue Jaguar, with Nigella Lawson, some kind of British food writer, in tow.  She is supposedly somewhat of a celebrity in Stainforth's part of the world, but I must admit, I'd never heard of her before reading his blog, Black Dogs.  After googling, I'm not in the least bit threatened, but just in case she becomes an issue, I gave Lucy the key, and asked if she might give Nigella a tour of the manor wine cellar, maybe leaving her there, just for a little while, of course. 


William Powell, who also received my special invitation, arrives with the stunning Virginia Bruce on his arm.  Apparently, there is a little misunderstanding, when Myrna Loy hears from Lucy that Mr. Powell was my intended date, that is, before Mr. Stainforth accepted. 

They are sorting it all out in the manor library.  I just peeked in, and see that Powell and Loy have obviously made amends, and are are entertaining each other with a game of wall shadows.  Tom's Dinosaur Hand will fit right in, which is a good thing.  Maybe now, he won't be so tempted to pinch quite as many derrieres on the dance floor, as last year.




'Magine my 'emoshe when Miss Fitzgerald agrees to sing one of my favorite Gershwin songs, 'Swonderful.  Oh, this song makes me feel amorous. Mr. Stainforth is all over dancing with Gustav Mahler's foxy wife Alma...excuse me...time for me to break in, I think...sing it Ella!




What am I wearing tonight?  This ethereal, feathered heaven of a gown, delivered straight from Paris, perfectly perfect for a magpie, and I might add, very conducive to fluttering and twirling.  Stand back, my friends, while I shake my tail feathers.  Shoes?  No, I've opted for my favorite pair of creamy Irish knit woolly socks.  If the dance floor gets warm, no worries, since I adore dancing barefoot. I'm freshly pedicured with bright classic red polish, since I'm told Stainforth has a little foot thing going on.



What did I tell you?  It looks like the peeps have sampled my favorite Last Word prohibition era cocktails. Things are really heating up on the dance floor.  Seasick Steve and his band are cranking out Don't Know Why She Love Me But She Do to the max.  Everybody is getting pret-ty crazy...




Almost nobody dances sober, 
unless they happen to be insane.  
H.P. Lovecraft



Last Word Cocktail
2 oz gin, 
1 oz green chartreuse
1/2 oz maraschino  
1/2 fresh cut squeezed lime 
shake
add a fresh bing cherry...for cuteness


I instructed the bartenders to make up extra trays of these delicious babies, 
guaranteed to make you cross-eyed in less than five minutes flat.


Remember, this is cyber food.  
You can eat as much of, and whatever you like...



Feel free to help yourselves, between dances, to the exquisite buffet.  We hired the same fabulous local Central Ohio caterers as last year, and by popular demand, the menu is exactly the same: Scottish quail eggs, in honor of my Sorbie ancestors, caviar, chocolate mousse cake; the works, not to mention the open bar stocked with hundred of bottles of vintage champagne, dusted off and brought up from the manor wine cellar.  Speaking of, I haven't seen Nigella. I wonder if Lucy gave her the little tour?




My friend Sir Anthony Hopkins, "Tony" to me, is here tonight, looking exceptionally handsome.  He is such a dear, and never misses a Willow Manor Ball. I have quite forgiven him for pulling that gun on Johnny Depp a few years back, after a slight misunderstanding about who was to be my date for the evening. 

Traditionally, I save at least one dance for him, and because I'm rendered quite wobbly, after looking directly into his killer blue eyes, he probably thinks I've had one too many Last Word cocktails.  But, it's because he makes me so very weak in the knees.

He will soon be in the library for his reading of The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock by T. S. Eliot, who happens to be here, by the way.  I just spotted him with Wendy Cope, deep in conversation, or something, behind a potted palm.  


...and seeing that it was a soft October night...


To be fond of dancing was a certain step towards falling in love.
Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice



The last slow dance of the evening is Noel Harrison's The Windmills of Your Mind, sung by none other than the fabulous Barbra Streisand.  Nigella Lawson is nowhere in sight, thank God, and I am wrapped in the arms of the dashing R.A.D. Stainforth.  I am much relieved that he doesn't, in any way, shape, or form, resemble Charles Laughton, in any film role.  In fact, he has been in high demand with the ladies, and even some of the men, with his incredible tango abilities.  I thought Tony Hopkins' eyes were blue? Stainforth's are hypnotic; think Kaa, the snake, in Jungle Book.  

Dear, dear Mrs. Miller has been itching for control of the mic all evening, to sing her trademark song, Downtown. She sings with such gusto, she sometimes forgets the words, and fills in with a few whistles, which I find quite charming.  Whistling has become a lost art, I'm afraid.  Sing it, Mrs. M...




The Beatles are experiencing some scheduling problems.  George rang to say they were hung up in Altoona, Pennsylvania, at P.J.'s Bar & Grill, fixing a flat on the Volkswagen bus, and that they would most likely arrive at the manor too late to perform.  But, hey!  Looks like Ringo put the pedal to the metal, and here they are...yeah yeah yeah...




Well, my friends, it's been a lovely evening. Please drop by tomorrow around noon-ish for brunch and a rehashing of all tonight's gossip.  The winners of the door prizes will also be announced.    Someone please make sure Nigella gets safely out of the wine cellar. Glenn Buttkus, since you drove your powerful Impala, Mrs. Miller needs a ride home, do you mind awfully?  


Now, if you'll excuse me, 
I have a hot date with some poetry and a sunrise.  
Ta-ta...

Thank you so much for making 
The Willow Manor Ball 2011 a smashing success.  


We danced too wild, 
and we sang too long, 
and we hugged too hard, 
and we kissed too sweet, 
and howled just as long 
as we wanted to howl, 
because by now 
we were all old enough to know 
that what looks like crazy 
on an ordinary day, 
looks a lot like love, 
if you catch it in the moonlight.   
Pearl Cleage


Please enter your name and URL in the Linky below,
 if you would like us to visit your blog 
to see what you're wearing to the ball, 
or who your date might be.


423 comments:

  1. Drink and dance and laugh and lie, love the reeling midnight through, for tomorrow we shall die (but alas we never do)! ― Dorothy Parker

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  2. Oh Willow you have OUTDONE yourself again!!!! Look I am terribly sorry to be so early. My post will appear at midnight. So please do not tell the others that I have arrived yet.

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  3. This is amazing amazing - will be there in a few hours. John and I are on his jet winging our way towards you.

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  4. Moonlight becomes you .......

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  5. What a fabulous ball you have prepared for us! I parked my train out front...hope you don't mind. I am a bit fatigued from stoking the boiler all the way here, so I need to catch my breath, maybe freshen up a bit, and then join the festivities!

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  6. I'm still fluttering around with last minute touches...come in and help yourself to the open bar...Melody is just warming up...

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  7. The Duchess of Alba's jet arrived a tad early, thus we thought we were ringing the doorbell but realized it was the keyboard which explains our earlier comment.

    Regardless, our post is now up.

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  8. I do wish I had one of those drinks. Someday, we are going to show up at your door. By the way, I'm the quiet one in the corner. I don't do to well at parties, so this one is right up my alley.

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  9. It's wonderful that Nigella agreed to come - you and I need to have a little chat about her later!

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  10. ,,, so out of breath! We made it just as the clock struck midnight! I just saw Sir Anthony .... omg.

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  11. This appears to be a fabulous affair. It is difficult to know where to begin. Perhaps a martini, they look simply delicious!!! How extraordinary
    to arrive in such a place. You have outdone yourself dear Tess. Thank you for your efforts.

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  12. You had me with the chocolate raspberry thingie. I think I'll have one more. mmmmmm thank you.

    Your dress is positively smashing!

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  13. The trip over from Ireland (in the Sikorsky VS-44A) was fun, and Ms O'Hara even invited me to dance whilst we were still over the Atlantic. I've never danced in a 'plane before.

    She was amused this morning when I told her that I would be wearing full highland (MacLennan) evening wear, insisting that it wasn't 100% traditional (ahem). Just wait till you see what SHE's wearing; I hope your security is good. It's ALL REAL.

    We are still a little prop-lagged, but should be with you around 9.30 to 10.00pm. A bientôt. Bisou, Cro.

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  14. This is exquisite and it lasts 24 hours. Truly the highlight of the "blogdom" year! I can't wait to see you twirl in that dress as I am dying to see the front! :)

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  15. this is all too fabulous. but............i have yet to scare up a date, let alone a dress.......thank goddess my twin june (aka robin lamb) will be attending. she is the much smarter one of the twin sisters and no doubt will come to my rescue with ideas on both fronts.

    for now, will be dreaming of the manor tonight, resplendent under a full moon as i get my act together.....

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  16. We have arrived and are relaxing

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  17. Cro, I hope Miss O'Hara will sing for us this evening...I want to hear "Look to the Rainbow"...she's fabulous!. And you know, a man in a kilt makes me dizzy...(!!!)

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  18. Everyone please help yourself to some canapes and my favorite Last Word cocktails...they really do make you cross-eyed in less than five minutes...but you can drink as many as you like and miraculously no hangover...!

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  19. Excellent- but i must nap and polish my shoes for the morning salute to sunrise

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  20. and a spin round the room withteh glorious hostess

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  21. Sigh....Melody Gardot filling the night air with her sultry tunes....with William Powell and Myrna Loy playing shadow puppets in the library = one heavenly night. David Niven and I must invade the charming scene....hmmm, W. Powell and Niv in the same room, playing shadow puppets....I wonder which one will get the silliest? That's ok, while the men goof before the dancing begins, I'll corner Ms. Loy to talk fashion/elegance tips - she is yoda in this department! BTW, adore the dress! Thanks for being such a gracious hostess once again!

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  22. That is one glorious dress. I intend to drink only champagne tonight and eat only truffles. I am bringing some from our local candy shop, all hand made on site, pure heaven.

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  23. What a time! NO ONE can put on a ball like you, m' dear! It was, as always, so much fun....meeting old friends, meeting new friends...

    Dorothy Parker should have been there! Hmmm...perhaps she was, in that crowd of people, it was possible to miss her!

    I thought you and I looked wonderful in our *ravishing red dresses*!

    I have to leave you with a quote from one of my dates, E. R. Eddison.
    This is from his book, "Mistress of Mistresses"...
    "At that, their talk was stilled for a moment. Barganax, looked at Fiorinda as she looked at the Moon. *Your looking glass*, he said under his breath. Her face altered and she smiled, saying, with a lazy shrug of the shoulders, *One of*.

    Love,

    ♥ Robin ♥

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  24. Flying over from Hogwatrz with Alan. Will stop over in New York to pick up Misha.

    See you soon, Tess.

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  25. Robin, I adore that little moon/looking glass quote...so very charming...it's so good to see you again...daahling...you look marvelous, by the way...

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  26. Poems by the Glass, I would be happy to take a spin on the dance floor with you...get those shoes polished up!

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  27. Looks as though I've made it for once. Now, who do I recognise?

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  28. Dang, I have to replace a spark plug and will be delayed a little bit. Clint, Georgia and Gregory are drinking southern comfort and having watermelon seed spitting contests while I mechanic. Never fear, we'll be there soon.

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  29. such a delightful affair, m'dear ms kincaid, thank you... my blessings to you and all your guests!

    unfortunately, my pups misunderstood your invitation, and i brought along some rather rowdy entertainment... but, fret not overmuch, i'll set them up under the trees at the back of manor yards, so they won't be too much of a distraction...

    also will set up tables for the grub/wine we brought, so they won't be a drain on your purse as they are wont to be

    of course, should any of your friends choose to come slumming with us back there, they'd be more than welcome... the more the merrier

    milady kwan is quite smitten by your exquisite tastes, and some celebs leave her breathless

    scots wa h'ae!

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  30. oh... and for a quick look at us, just click on my avatar, and scroll down a bit to where my rabble and i are gathered :)

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  31. Tess, This night is at a roar! It all sounds wonderful...so so sorry not to be in the mix. Sent you a LITTLE something for your dessert table...hope you like the treats! Every year...a promise for a wild night...and once again a promise kept...carry on dear friend!!

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  32. ok, my bad... a single glass of your cocktail had its effect on this old man... after you click on the av, you must then go to my blog... then scroll down

    sheesh, and i thought i could still handle any and all poopie drinks... uh... drinkie poos! :O

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  33. Hello, my dear!! I just wanted to let you know I am on my way...have a First Class car on the rails. Be there soon! Oh Lord, I hope my driver is waiting at the station and knows the winding road to the Manor!!!

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  34. I am in awe!
    Wishing you a smashing success,
    Merisi

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  35. A stunning affair, my dear!

    Be careful with Nigella, she stole my heart and made me fall in love with the sensuality of food. But you, of course, have nothing to fear being fabulous you.

    Leo and I had a time parking his skiff in your field, but we managed and now he is snug in his corner reading Rilke's letters from Russia on my Kindle. I hope you will come sit with him in the chair we've saved for you when you need a rest!

    Meantime, where is Mr. Powell . . .

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  36. Willow,
    So sorry to miss the Ball this year; I was so looking forward to coming and bringing the lovely Jennifer Lopez with me to meet you. But alas We are leaving shortly for South Texas to attend my son's wedding.
    Dance the night away my dear, I'll be thinking of you!
    rel

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  37. Your posh place is perfectly dreamy! This will be a night to remember, Tess, from your Mrs. Dalloway touch with the roses to Anthony Hopkins' reading of The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, from the music to the array of famous guests dressed so beautifully, you have every detail masterfully tuned. And, I love your dress so much (so glad you also dance barefoot).

    My (REMARKABLE) escort and I must go listen to Melody Gardot now and leave you to greet your other guests. Thank you for a wonderful cyber event. :)

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  38. I'm hoping hubby and I can sneak in Trellissimo, as well? What's your punishment for gatecrashers? :)

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  39. I'm bringing all my twinkle-toe-friends

    Luscious!!

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  40. Oh wonderful, darlin'!! The ball is living up to my expectations - and then some.... MWAH

    And I'm so glad that Bertie (Wooster) and I finally made it - phew!

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  41. You're pure class, Tess! Thanks for this grand moonlit hall of celebration! And what fun would there be for everyone if we invited the gods along! - Brendnan

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  42. I love how you intend to take care of Nigella!

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  43. Thank you for the invitation to such a wonderful party. I'd forgotten how much fun it is to get all dressed up. By the way, I brought you an 1888 bottle of Pernod Absinthe in case you run out of chartreuse. Cheers!

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  44. Everything is breathtaking! Lord Thomas and I have arrived and are settling into our usual suite. Can't wait to change and browse the grounds of the Manor. It's going to be an exciting night ahead!

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  45. Hello. How wonderful. So glad to see William Powell and Myrna Loy.

    I hope you don't mind that I have a few extra guests. My date is Dr. Sheldon Cooper, and also, Jane Goodall (who thinks she is my date's date) and her amore, Augustus Snerd.

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  46. ahhhh tess, such the showboat as always. the dress is extraordinary and it's easy to know where you've gone just by following the little trail of red feathers!!! save me a dance if you've got time or at the very least have a champagne for me and welcome in the sunrise! steven

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  47. love to come.... but I am gay so insist on a good looking bloke on my arm!

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  48. Stig arrived, on time and rarin' to go. While not the chattiest of escorts, he did bring a corsage (how sweet). We did find Nigella wandering the cellars muttering something about Stainforth and meringues, couldn't quite sort it all out, so we just gave her another Last Word Cocktail and turned her around three times.
    Willow...that dress...I am speechless.
    What a night!

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  49. oh Daaahling Tess, you are so very special to have this most gala affair for the 4th year. I know it takes alot of time working with all the cattering services, but I see you have out done yourself this year. LadyCat and I feel so previleged to stay in our usual suite at the Manor. We're so excited about sharing our dance cards with everyone. I have some dashing new tunes to play at the piano for conservational background music, daaahhhling!! Please check out LadyCat and my outfits for the gala affair, dearest!
    xoxo

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  50. Oh, and here's dear, dear William and Myrna. Now a tale of truth - no fishing - from your dear Cat: I actually met our dear Mr Powell in hospital when I was 11 years old!! Yes, I did. My father was old chums with the doctor who owned and ran Hollywood West Hospital, really truly delivering my older brother (and me, but much later :)). We were the real McCoy 'tar babies', popping out of La Brea and Vine (it being known in the '50s and '60s as La Brea Hospital). And both the bro and I popped out as fair as any American born lad and lass of Irish descent.
    Later having my emergency appendix operation in the very same hospital, I was introduced to the gracious William Powell, even then as old as he must have been. I can't even remember what he was in the hospital for, but I do remember the poor man, fresh from his own operation, being as gallant as ever. I fell in love with him on the spot, even at the ripe old age of 11. That's just the natural charm he had, as those Golden Era movie stars can't be beat by our modern Gagas and ganders. And, to this day, I have the complete collection of all 'The Thin Man' series, which includes our ever so gorgeous Mz Loy. What a tale, eh?
    So, you can imagine how overjoyed I was to catch up with them both for a rousing session of shadow puppeteering, which Bertie, of course, proved to be a master of, holding us all in stitches with his 'gangsta' impression!
    Thanks again, darlin' Tess.
    What a ball of a ball!!
    Oh, and by the by, we did find Nigella still in the wine cellar. She'd been giving the captivated Lucille some delicious wine pairing suggestions, and we all got pleasantly sauced trying them out together. She's such a love, our Nigella. Ta!

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  51. Oops, the river is deeper than we thought it would be. Dinosaur hand wants to know if Asta will be there, too?

    Does anyone there have some scuba gear they aren't using?

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  52. "That pleasure which is at once the most pure, the most elevating and the most intense, is derived, I maintain, from the contemplation of the beautiful."
    E A Poe

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  53. So inspired and lovely!! I do prints, canvas, greeting cards and posters about fashion, you´r invited to see my work :)

    By the way love your blog and follow you!! :)

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  54. John Lennon is quite the wit. So pleased he is my partner. Had trouble with Mr.Linky, but I'm here and enjoying it all. John is helping someone called Lucy out of her private jet, remarking on her diamonds, and muttering something about "inspiring luv, positively inspiring".

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  55. Oh! Everyone's tossing down drinks like crazy...I've called for another bartender to help mix up those Last Words... Merry & Bright!

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  56. Catfish, Mr. Powell is delighted to see you...it's so very sweet that he knows you after all these years...you must see to it that he gets a signed copy of one of your books, daahling...

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  57. My guest at the Ball today is Miss Jane Austen. I caught up with her in Boston last week, a stop on her tour of women’s colleges in the States. She has been speaking to the students about this latest trend of Zombies taking over her novels. It is not to her liking.

    But she was eager to come to the Willow Manor Ball. “I remember what Miss Bates said in Emma,” she said. “It is such a happiness when good people get together — and they always do.”

    Is the rumor true, Tess — that you’ll be giving a reading from your new poetry chapbook? We’re both looking forward to that.

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  58. Thanks so much for allowing us to crash the Willow Manor Ball. Fabulous party. Sorry about the mess on the living room wall, but Katie-Bar-The-Door insisted Picasso was a bum and started to paint that mural.

    I wrote up my after-action report for your amusement here.

    See you next year!

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  59. I'm sure your dress like your poetry will ruffle a few feathers! Enchanting!

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  60. we have arrived and are having a smashing time. thank you dear Willow. Hope you enjoy my hostess gift: 50 pounds of Burdick's choclates

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  61. Jeffery...there you are...where is that dance you promised me? Careful with those snake-skin shoes...my feet are bare, remember...

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  62. Mythical, monkeys in human clothing frighten me...after this dance, please introduce me to Pablo...

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  63. Hello hello and HELLO!! My date Arlo Guthrie and I have arrived. Yes, the aroma of something herbal arrives with us. We were at Occupy Wall Street until the very last minute, where we partook of the traditional low level hallucingenic, oh yeah.

    As usual the Manor is splendid! Poor Leonard, those bedbugs are such a nuisance, but of course there are many who wish to fill in as M.C.

    You are stunning, Tess. That dress was made for you, wow.

    I'm off to get a glass of champagne. Arlo? ARLO? Oh. I think Tony Hopkins and Arlo have slipped out into the gardens to have a smoke. Hmm. This is going to be an interesting evening!

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  64. Tess Kincaid,
    I am so looking forward to my first cyber soirée,
    And how grand it will be.
    My escorts well chosen and well dressed,
    Sean Connery and Gregory Peck
    promise a glamorous and sophisticated evening.


    Again thank you for the invitation.
    BarbaraG

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  65. alas my "a" list date cancelled, but I will have fun anyway :) This looks like a rather fabulous chindig :)

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  66. Good evening M'lady!..Care to Salsa? Bare foot or shod! I assure you I'm no clod!..Oh Dear! The Champagne's talking!

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  67. Steven is correct about the trail of red feathers. Very cool. Cheers!

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  68. Tess--
    let's share a glass of bubbly when you have a moment---you are stunning and surrounded by so many admirers...thank you for such a lovely party--cheers c

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  69. Steven, oh look! I have you penciled in my dance card twice. Shall we?

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  70. Miss Austen is so right, Maria...it is such a happiness when good people get together. Speaking of, I can't wait to have a nice little chat...I think I see her on Dali's sofa with Danny Kaye...

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  71. Lord Thomas of Wellington, I am very much looking forward to hearing you play "If You Wonder What a Duke Should Be"...I had the old piano tuned especially...you make all the manor parties so very special, dearest Unks...xox

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  72. I bought one of Liz Taylors gown this week at her auction. SSH don't tell her! I told her that I made it. I'm here with Gregory Peck and am having a smashing time!

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  73. Thanks for giving me the chance to dress up! I'll grab a bite. Your cyber food is yummy! Okay, it's healthy for artists to have a little martini before discussing life :) Btw, I won't stay long. Happy Birthday! >kisses<

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  74. Dah-lings......

    So sorry I'm late!
    Bit of a mix up with the fox furs!

    I am SO humbled to be attending my very FIRST Willow Manor Ball! My sincere thanks for the gracious invite!

    Everything looks so grand! I DO love what you've done with the place!

    Now, Dearies.....I must confide in you......on the way here several friends and I did stumble upon the most *fascinating* item.......quite mysterious!

    And oh, how I do so love a goodly intrigue! I believe you will be *most* shocked!

    For safe keeping I have secured it at the door with your charming doorman, Mister Linky.......I can not quite believe it myself.......!

    And now.....for a lovely glass of Moet..........

    Ta!

    ~Mimi

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  75. I have just arrived at your door on the arm of Derrick (used to blog as Melrose Musings) - we have not met since your last ball but he is as handsome as ever.
    We have arrived in his cyber Rolls Royce Silver Cloud (what else). I am wearing a silver Dolce and Gabbana dress (size 8 in your dreams) and he is wearing a matching silver tuxedo. He dances divinely and has flown in specially from Crete for the occasion.

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  76. My dear Tess, you are simply ravishing ... shake those tail feathers, baby ... I, too, am dying to see the front ... I think there's every chance I will tonight ... and the Old-Fashioned you thrust into my hand upon arrival ... perfect ... O! my kind of party ... Nigella Lawson, the Queen of Gastroporn, practically begged me to take her, creating quite a scene, bursting into tears, clinging to my leg, generally carrying on in a rather silly exaggerated paroxysm of grief ... "If only things were different!" ... you know the kind of thing ... rather embarrassing, as I was taking afternoon tea at the Midland Hotel, Manchester ... so, anway, she's outside in the Jag with some fish and chips I picked up in Akron, yes, Akron (!) ... Nigella's map-reading is not good ... perhaps one of the staff could take her out some caviar and quails' eggs later on ... are you calling me a snake ... yes, you may freshen that up for me ... catch you later ... time to mingle ... I'll keep my calfskin driving gloves on for the moment ... I see Glenn Gould's wearing his as well ...

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  77. Tess the place looks magnificent and I am so humbled to be among such glittering guests. I really must apologize for Tommy and Dick. They can't seem to go anywhere together without quarreling.

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  78. Weaver dear, you look simply marvelous in your D&G...Derrick?! Where is he? He is so very sorely missed in the blogosphere...

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  79. Well, Cate and I have arrived! She is wearing a peach colored smashing dress, and in heels, her 5' 8" height is now nearly 6'. But I love to have tall women on my arm.

    My fire engine red 1968 Impala SS is parked outside, and I am ready at a moment's notice to drag race with Stainforth whenever he pleases. I can also fence with him, if he chooses, since I was the fencing champion at the Ball last year.

    Almost immediately upon arrival, Cate melted into the crowd to go look up friends. She found Kate Winslett immediately, and Russell Crowe drinking those lethal Last Word cocktails with Hugh Jackman.

    I was drawn to the grand piano to listen to Melody. She is as beautiful as she is charming.

    I am wearing a red speedo under my red tartan kilt, and felt that modesty had its place on the dance floor.

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  80. Arnold, the Govenator, pulled us out of the river with a team of Hummers (he's taken to driving the entire fleet all at the same time!) and I believe he might be thinking of crashing your party. I gave him false directions, so maybe yes, maybe no. We're hurrying, but I'm afraid my tux has come undone and is floating away...

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  81. The Manor, if possible, is really incredibly decorated this year. The one sheet movie posters in the guest bathrooms is a delicious idea.

    I have consumed a cocktail, and spun Cate onto the dance floor once. She removed her high heels, and now I can look directly into those blue eyes of hers. I will hide her high heels, and she can be as barefoot as Tess.

    Damn, that feather dress is breathtaking, and with your hair swept up like that you tower over the proceedings. Scotland is my adopted home, as you know. I really feel I lived there in past lives.

    Robin, your red dress is stunning too. I asked Cate not to wear her red ball gown, and she looks delectable in peach.

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  82. R.A.D....O! Your eyes are even bluer than I imagined...I spotted your white gardenia from across a crowded room...oh, please don't leave Nigella out in the Jag, listening to the rainwater in the downspouts...do you think she might like a puddle of ketchup with those Akron fries? I want her to meet my good friend Lucille Ball...giggle...and don't forget about that tango a little later...

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  83. Positively giddy from twirling, sipping, nibbling, laughing, jabbering ... less than two hours left for me to eyeball each and every gown. Thank goodness this is a cyber event for I would never be able to return 'Ford' to his Tiz in time.

    How can we ever thank you for hosting Willow Manor Ball? Nothing comes close to comparison.

    Ms. Melody Gardot - Mistress of Ceremonies? Brilliant!

    Entrancing how those bits of red feathers lay on the dance floor like flower petals.

    I'm jabbering AGAIN! Ta Daahling.

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  84. Glenn...I say...stumpling over a stray high heeled shoe...Cate looks absolutely stunning on your arm...make sure you keep that sporran firmly in place tonight...wouldn't want the speedo getting loose...

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  85. Cate left her husband, Andrew Upton, and her three boys in Sydney. Thanks, Andy, for the loan of your frau. I don't know what fragrance she is wearing, but it is heavenly. Cate's home, overlooking Sydney harbor, is called "Bulwarra". She has remarked that Willow Manor has an old world charm mixed with a handsome American twist.

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  86. Is Derrick here? I must find him! I haven't heard from him in ages....

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  87. Tess, remember that as well as Ronaldo, there has to be room on your dance card for the old man from the north woods too. I thought maybe I would be a bit chilly this time a year here in Ohio wearing a kilt, but the bright red woolly socks really help keep me warm. Of course, just moving around shoulder to shoulder with the throngs of guests keeps the blood flowing too.

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  88. Last night was incredible! Your Alexandre McQueen gown, the food. I am nursing the biggest hangover.

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  89. Glenn, my dance card wouldn't be the same without Glenn A. Buttkus scrawled in pencil...

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  90. Hasn't Nigella come in yet? I guess she is pouting out in Ronaldo's Jag. These Scottish quail eggs are very tasty; my first encounter with them. I cannot really get into the caviar much; my blue collar upbringing did not allow me to develop a taste for Russian sturgeon eggs. A glass of bubbly really mixes well with the Last Word cocktails!

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  91. O what a night (and morning) it was, is... you outdid yourself this year... what a crowd!

    My sweet *Gentlemen* and I had such fun....so many fascinating people in attendance... my feet are sore from dancing, my throat is sore from laughing, my head is pounding from excessive cocktail consumption! But, I am happy and relaxed.... time for cucumbers on the eyes...and a long, hot bubble bath! I can reflect on all that transpired under that *Baritone Moon*!

    Tonight - "Don Giovanni*... when the *Masquerade Scene* takes place, I will smile to my self and think how much it will pall compared to last night! (The singing, however, will be excellent!)

    Danke Vielmals..liebe Tess!!! Alles war ausgezeichnet!! Bis nachstes Jahr!

    ♥ Robin ♥

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  92. O Gawd! Who brought Russel Crowe! He's trying to armwrestle everybody!..Give in he asks! He's prone to tanty's!

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  93. Wow, I just met Anthony Hopkins. I knew he and I were about the same height. He says he is 5' 8" too. Cate knew him well, and she called him Philip, which surprised me. I thought everyone called him Tony. He talked about getting into the London theatre scene in 1957, influenced by Richard Burton, and a few years later being invited to join Olivier's acting troupe.

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  94. I'm here Tess. It's a lovely party. Just look for me out in the garden, up in the tree branches.

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  95. I made it! It was a fabulous drive; the weather cooperated and I was able to put the convertible top down. However, now I need to freshen up, beacause my hair's looking quite windblown.

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  96. Robin, Der Weidenbaumsrittergutball wäre nicht das gleiche ohne Sie, der liebste Freund. Vielen Dank.

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  97. Shari, please don't be Sabrina...come down from that tree and join us...I say holding up a Last Word into the branches...

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  98. Yes, Russell likes to arm wrestle. Maybe I will give him a go. I used to be pretty good at it. If he beats me, which he probably will, I can use the excuse that as a sexagenarian I should never have attempted to best him. At the moment, he and Ewan McGregor are talking about the motorcycle trip they did last year all the way around Australia with 20 of their mates.

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  99. Cate's Dad, Bob, was a Texan, and she likes to arm wrestle too. She has challenged Crowe to a match. Wow, she has buff arms, and they are going at it.
    It is a deadlock for a moment or two, then as Russell sweated buckets, Cate put him down. He is laughing it off, but one wonders if chivalry or pure strength gave the match to Cate.

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  100. It amazes me that some of you guests arrived last night. I considered it, but felt I would not have the stamina to last most of the day, and into tonight if I showed up earlier. Beside, per usual, it took Cate a bit of time to get herself "ready" for the occasion.

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  101. Tess, I just received a text from Michel Legrand, who is rather upset that you attributed his song The Windmills of Your Mind to Noel Harrison, who merely recorded it ... honestly, Frenchmen can be so touchy ...

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  102. That Ohio moon was stunning last night. It should be a completely full moon for tonight to cap this affair, on the traditional Columbus Day celebration.

    What is the forecast, Tess. Most of us brought rain gear if we need it.

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  103. Forgive me, darling hostess...I have been away attending to important...er, military matters. Apparently some cad has been plundering booty in your neighborhood. I took a turn around the place and saw no sign of the rascal. If I can but pry these other gents away from you, would you do me the honor of this dance?

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  104. Ronaldo, glad to bump into you. Were you just teasing me about matching your E-Type against the Detroit muscle of my SS?

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  105. Dr. Linthead, I thought you'd never ask...shall we, then?

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  106. I love the collage of woollies in the coat room, aka guest bedroom. You seem to have a rainbow of wool to choose from! And the framed pictures of your children are a nice touch too.

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  107. The rain has finally stopped...the stone walk to the manor door is full of glistening puddles...and the amber trees look more brilliant against the gray Ohio sky, than a blue one...

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  108. so, i forgot to ask...will your lovely sister be along? i believe she owes me a dance. Oops...Toby seems to have stowed-away in the hatch, good thing he can hold his breath. Did you know there's a check point down the lane? And they have uzis!

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  109. If Ronaldo does not Bogart your next twirl, Cate says it is fine for me to take my turn with the Hostess with the Mostest, as soon as you catch your breath. What a marvelous dancer you are, Tess. Your feathers all seem to stand up on edge as you twirl.

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  110. Dr. Linthead, you know how I feel about a man in uniform...you dance on air, my friend...

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  111. Glenn, I'm more than happy to beat you in a drag race ... if we can find a lady willing to start us ...

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  112. Yes, the weather seems to be clearing. Maybe later in the day I can put the top down in the SS, as I am sure Ronaldo will be impressed with the white leather interior.

    Desi Arnez walked by. How nice to see him. I wonder if he is looking for Lucy. He is carrying a Mr. Microphone. Maybe he hopes someone will ask him to crone. Of course, I thought I saw Louie Prima a moment ago too, so the Latin beat might kick up soon.

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  113. i'm here, willow dahling........the place looks absolutely smashing!

    i've been salivating all day like one of pavlov's dogs when anyone would mention a last word cocktail........can someone direct me to the bar?

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  114. Amanda, there are servers walking around the Manor, with trays of Last Word cocktails, and others with champagne. Hanging out at the bar can be fun too. Richard Burton, Richard Harris, and Peter O'Toole are all tipping elbows over there.

    Renaldo, OK, let's make some arrangements to find a quarter mile of the manor grounds, and clear the area. Perhaps Nigella could wave her scarf for the start.

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  115. Has anyone else ever noticed how beautiful, how extraordinary, champagne bubbles are as they make their trek up the flute? Oh wow.

    Hmm. Perhaps I've had enough of the puffing. Maybe a double espresso will bring me back to plumb, hey?

    Is that who I think it is at the espresso bar, playing barista? Wow.

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  116. But, of course, I must have my dance with Tess before the manly challenges can be dealt with. One issue is the wet ground; not the best conditions for traction, sir.

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  117. Glenn, I think Nigella could be persuaded to wave her bra to start us ... clearly visible from a quarter of a mile away ...

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  118. glenn, thank you dahling. i simply love nigella - she give a whole new meaning to sweater sets...

    i seem to have lost my date already — has anyone seen antonio? no, not banderas silly - the other antonio - the one who smashes atoms??

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  119. Oh gosh, Cate is upset with my cajoling of Ronaldo, telling me that "drag racing" is absurd at such a posh affair. She seems really cross with me, has rushed off with Demi Moore to look for Ashton Kutchner.

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  120. Nigella and buxom seem to be bedfellows. On the one hand it would be grand to match American muscle to British lean, but this being your debut in American society, perhaps it is rash to push for a challenge. But I stand ready if you insist. I think you did challenge me first; hard to recall.

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  121. Thank you, Tess! You dance as lightly as a feather. Our dance was...ethereal. I yield your hand to Glenn, unless R.A.D. thinks otherwise. Ciao bella, love!

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  122. What's all this about Drag Racing?...Nobody said anything about Cross Dressing!

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  123. Yes, Reya, that's Gilda Radner handling the espresso bar in her Roseanne Roseannadanna persona...I love her...

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  124. Gosh, R.A.D. is teasing Tony Hopkins now, doing his impression of him. Tony is in a fit of laughter. Perhaps rather than a drag race, Ronaldo and I can do dueling impressions of Richard Burton, reciting lines from BECKET or VIRGINIA WOOLF?

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  125. Are you ready for our dance, Miss Tess; for it will be the highlight of my party experience.

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  126. Jeffery, Glenn's already in a kilt and I will be slipping into my Shirley Bassey costume ...

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  127. Jeffrey, easy on the fag jokes, Dame Elton John is dressed in red too, and his gown is smashing; all covered in sequins.

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  128. Dr. Linthead, I'm not quite ready to be handed over to Glenn...it appears he's been hanging around Gilda and had one too many espressos...he's talking faster than Martin Scorsese...take me for another turn around the floor, kind sir...

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  129. Mel Gibson is back in his kilt outfit, smashed to the gills over by the bar. It seems a bit goosh that he brought his Oscar with him. Hope somebody doesn't nick it or take it home in their purse.

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  130. Oh, Willow - what a fabulous, entertaining time I'm having! I just had to play Mrs.Miller to my son's.....I think they've got a new legend there! Thanks!

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  131. The floor is ours, Tess. Oh, and do try to swoon this time...my arms await you.

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  132. Renaldo, is Nigella cool with you being the official date for Tess? Several other women are flocking around you too. Does that happen to you often? When do the gloves come off, sir. And though it is sad Tess feels I am too revved up for a dance, do I need your permission to partner up with her, and can she make up her own mind relative to her dance card?

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  133. The cocktails are divine, love.

    I'm wondering how long I will be able to keep this gown on... Jimmy has been surreptitiously trying to locate the zipper ever since we started dancing!

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  134. Audrey Tatou can't stop giggling at Mel's antics! Hide the Lampshades Tess..I've heard rumours of an Impromptu performance of DEVO fans!

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  135. The expressos take the edge off the cocktails and champagne. Gene Wilder is telling jokes over there now. He can do an Irish accent so very well. Liz Taylor is with him, knocking down cocktails like a trouper, and her Irish accent is quite good too.

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  136. Lena, isn't Mrs. Miller the cat's meow? Just try listening without cracking a smile...it's impossible...the poor dear doesn't drive these days...so I'm hoping Glenn will give her a ride home in his Impala later tonight...

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  137. My goodness, I caught a glimpse of Noel Coward, Ralph Richardson, Ian McKellon, and John Gielgud sipping champagne over by the suit of armor in the corner. Great to see that bunch.

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  138. willow, seeing all these fantastic guests here i'm forced to quote charles simic:

    He who cannot howl, will not find his pack

    oh, and i'm not disappointed. there's mel in his kilt by the bar. howling.

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  139. Mrs. Miller is a dear lady. Of course I can slip out later and jet her home in the SS. It is odd to see how thin she had become in her winter years; still has good pipes though.

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  140. I asked Georgia to take McVal for a tour of the manor (as in stuff her in a broom closet for a while) so that I can get my dances in with Gregory Peck. The way Clint is putting the licquor away makes it look like we will be sleeping in the truck (sigh). I am going to pipe a fling (I always pack my chanter) and see if I can get peek of Glenn's red speedo. Of course, Suzuki's arrival in his "cocktail" suit has everyone's attention at the moment.

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  141. Marcheline, Jimmy has unzipped you a lot, and your posterior is very fetching. I guess you are using some kind of adhesive to keep the top on, but your derriere is getting some delightful exposure; that's why there is no panty line, huh?

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  142. Darling, you dress is to die for!

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  143. Darling, you dress is to die for!

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  144. Oh my! Seems there are others about. For a moment there I dreamed we were all alone, in perfect silence, dancing to the music only we could hear. Alack, dear Tess, duty calls. Look for my return with the rising of the moon...

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  145. I guess Robin is up to her nostrils in a bubble bath, for I have not seen her in that red dress for a time.

    Hilary Swank is wearing red too, swishing her long hair and swinging her legs around dancing with Chaz Bono. Now Jeffrey, don't antagonize Chaz. I think I saw Cher on the arm of some young rocker a few moments ago. She has managed to keep herself very fit, and is wearing one of those huge headgear tiaras that look like something off a science fiction cover.

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  146. Mama Zen, your outfit is wonderful too. Please describe it for the readers and voyeurs.

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  147. Tess seems to taking a breather from the dance floor. She is such a tease. Oh well, all good things come to those who wait; some of the time. Hey, Ronaldo has taken off his calf skin gloves and is wearing one sequined glove ala Michael Jackson, and is moonwalking marvelously out there.

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  148. Cate is doing her Oscar winning Kate Hepburn imitation from THE AVIATOR, and it has Miss Kathryn Hepburn, dressed in leather pants, and Marty Scorsese in stitches.

    It was fun to see Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn arm in arm; love can conquer all it seems. Susan Sarandon is here with a very dark handsome young actor I do not recognize. Tim Robbins is at the bar schmoozing with Mel. Mel's tartan is green, like Tess's family tartan.

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  149. Cate is dancing with Lorenzo Lamas now, and do they make a handsome couple. She has incredible energy, and has been looking forward to this party for months.

    Marty Scorsese wants to talk films with me, but if it is like last year, once that begins, there is no stopping either of us for hours, so I will avoid him for a time.

    John Huston is smoking a cigar while being hooked up to his oxygen tank. His son, Danny, is trying to get him to snuff out the stoggy.

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  150. I decided to tuck in with Leonard- we are drinking theraflu and whiskey, dressed in silk jammies...His voice is even better being a bit under the weather. We are tucked in for the evening.

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  151. How nice to see Bogart and Bacall here today, and he is bravely here without his toupee. He is talking to Sean Connery about hairpieces. Jimmy Stewart and Fred Astaire have joined in laughing about the need earlier to look more hirsute for the cameras. These days Ed Harris and Bruce Willis, now arm wrestling in the bar, are not afraid to show how sexy bald can be.

    Desi Arnaz, Jr. just slipped by carrying a rose to give Lucy; how sweet. Melody is doing a beautiful ballad now, and it has me in tears.

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  152. Cate and her husband run a Theater in Sydney, and in 2009 she played Blanche in STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE, directed by Liv Uhllman. It was sweet of Tennessee Williams to walk up to Ms. Blanchett and tell her what a great Blanche she was.

    Did any of you know that "kilt" originally meant to gird up, to tuck up around the body. The originals were longer, and the tops could be tossed over one shoulder, or used as a hoodie; which should interest R.A.D.

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  153. Incredible to find a screening room with professional equipment in it in the Manor basement. CITIZEN KANE was on awhile ago. What else has screened over the evening, and into this day?

    The four lane bowling alley is cool too. I had to toss a few balls, but did not have the proper shoes, so I slipped and landed on my red speedo. Jon Cryer thought it was pretty funny. God, he is a tall one. Used to slump a lot not make Sheen look shorter.

    I will wander outside for some air soon, and see if Mister Ed is still in the stables.

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  154. Willow, I hope you don't mind that I took a quick catnap in one of your spare bedrooms. I was awoken by a tipsy couple (both A-listers, although they shall remain nameless) who were trying to find a quiet place to, ah, "talk".

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  155. Linda Sue, I feel so much better, knowing you are there with Lenny, keeping him...um...company...I'm sure the silk jammies are soothing to his little bedbug thing...

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  156. Well, there is a kilt-off of sorts going on. Sean Connery has on his green tartan, and even David Duchovny has shown up in his purple tartan. Great to see so many real men read to flash their knees and keep cool.

    Christ, now Mel is playing with his prop broadsword over by the bar, and Russell Crowe is ready to challenge him to a sword fight. Give them room, folks.

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  157. Mademoiselle Willow, you look divine in your fantasy of feathers. It was great to hear Ella's crystal-clear voice expressing my feelings for this evening. The strings of globe lights are a wonderful old-fashioned touch. Thank you for your graciousness, Hubert and I had a divine time!

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  158. Can you believe it, Gerard Butler is here in a kilt, and his Mum is on his arm; how sweet. And even Clive Owen is wearing a kilt. What lovely company I seem to be in. Does R.A.D. own a kilt? Some of the ladies were asking about it.

    I told Cate that one of my favorites of her roles was when she played Bob Dylan in I'M NOT HERE.

    Yes, yes, Mister Ed is come again this year, and he is holding court out in the manor stables. He is holding a Mister Ed trivia contest. What years did the show run for starters?

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  159. Cate just shared modestly that she is a GOBS member. I asked her what that stood for, and she said that is for performers who have won several Golden Globes, an Oscar, several BAFTAs, and several SAG awards. Quite a talented lady, my date.

    There was a sun break outside as I strolled back from the stables. The air smells so fresh, with just the slightest river water tinge coming off the Scioto.

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  160. So happy to be here with Dame Helen after a bumpy flight....everything looks so splendid and helen is longing to meet you and for you to sign her much loved book of your poetry....

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  161. How wonderful of Nance and Sir Paul to come round, having a break from their honeymoon. I spied her ruffling your feathers Tess! She loved your ensemble!! Did I see a hint of jealousy? I had a swallow of the champers she was drinking. So smooth and yummy. I feel so warm and happy... let's dance!!

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  162. Fantastic premise! Fantastic blog! Fantastic hostess!

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  163. Michael! So wonderful to see you...I would be more than happy to sign one of my books for Dame Helen, who I am very anxious to meet, by the way. Would she mind, if I sweep you onto the dance floor for a few twirls?

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  164. I keep finding feathers all over the dance floor. Who's shedding?

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  165. Linda, I had no idea Sir Paul would be bringing his new bride along in the VW bus...all the way from Altoona...wonder how she likes being part of the band?

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  166. Liam Neeson found a kilt to pop on too, and he is now pushing Crowe aside saying that his Rob Roy could have kicked Mel's William Wallace's butt any day of the week. The testosterone is flowing like the cocktails over there in the Gibson corner. Ewan has dragged Russell off to the corner and they are now playing chess. Nice of Tess to put out the boards.

    I am enjoying a serving of chocolate mousse cake; very rich and decadent.

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  167. I sent my date on ahead without me, because I found Steve Martin in the woods playing his banjo for the official Ohio Birdwatchers Association, in preparation for his new movie. Mr. Ed gave her a ride...

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  168. Giggle...Delores...that would be me...it looks as if I'm molting...(!)

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  169. Tom, I was just wondering if Mr. Ed was here again this year...I thought I heard him on the phone behind the potted palms...I'd recognize that horsey voice anywhere...although it sounds like he's had a few too many Last Words...

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  170. Richard Chamberlain is here with his partner. Lovely he remembered me. I appeared with him for a time in a production of RICHARD III at the Seattle Rep. He looks wonderful in his white tux and California tan; still very fit it seems. He asked if there were complimentary copies of PATINA that would be given out as party favors. I said I did not know. I wasn't planning leaving for a while.

    MISTER ED ran from 1961-1966. There were two Allans connected with the production. Can we name them?

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  171. R.A.D....oops...silly me...I'm sure Mr. Legrand will get over my little faux pas after I treat him to a slow turn around the dance floor...

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  172. Did very many of you know that Mister Ed was portrayed by Bamboo Harvester, a palomino crossbred gelding with Arabian blood. If Chill Wills did the voice of Francis the Talking Mule, who did the voice for Mister Ed? In the credits it was always, "Mister Ed is played by himself ".

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  173. Is Tom still trying to scuba dive in the Scioto? I saw his tux wrapped around a piece of driftwood. Someone please ask Lloyd Bridges to go fish him out...

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  174. When I heard that Nigella had arrived, I knew immediately that I must attend as well. I am looking forward to chatting with her, wherever you have stashed her

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  175. Dang! I forgot. I will see if I can find anything better than Cheez Whiz in the fridge and I will be right over. The sari will have to suffice this year.

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  176. Tess,

    i'm afraid Tom has been watching too many episodes of hillbilly handfishin'

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  177. On second thought, maybe Tom would rather be rescued by Esther Williams...mouth to mouth resuscitation and all...

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  178. I do believe Nigella to be in the wine cellar, sampling recent vintages of the sweet wines we make from the local Catawba grapes.

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  179. Leilani, the last I heard, Nigella was in the manor drive, still sitting in R.A.D.'s Jag, consuming an astounding amount of fries from a greasy paper bag...and without ketchup, too...someone please go fetch her...

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  180. Has Nigella discovered White Castle? Oh, dear...

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  181. Dr. Linthead...that wine..would it be made from Ohio Catawba or North Carolina Catawba grapes?

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  182. no, no...i was just having a duet with Steve, a stirring rendition of 'King Tut'. Turns out he is going native and will lend me his white suit (sans arrow-through-head). Please tell Ms. Lupino I'm on my way, and keep her away from the bar.

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  183. Did you know that there is a fencing competition going on in the garden; pretty fierce too. I have decided to abstain this year. Basil Rathbone beat Errol Flynn twice. Cornel Wilde has beaten Steward Granger. No one wants to fight Robert Shaw since he seems to be in his cups again. And hey, Tess, Johnny Depp has arrived, and he just bested Orlando Bloom in a match. Incredible excitement out here amongst the roses. Johnny assured me that he will be inside soon to cheer up the festivities.

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  184. Ohio Catawbas, Tess :-) Before the late unpleasantness (our Civil War), Ohio was the center of American wine-making.

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  185. Ida, Lupie to her friends, has been known to knock down the drink or three. Wise to keep her otherwise occupied. Steve Martin is quite the musician too. He did a tour up here in the Northwest last year; can do a two hour show without breaking a sweat; great banjo player. George Segal is in the drawing room too, and he is playing his banjo, doing some jazz riffs for Melody. Maybe George and Steve will have a duet later.

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  186. Oh it took so long to get across the border, but we're here now! I've managed to keep Nigella and Giada at arms length, there was the possibility of hair pulling at one point...you know the discussions over Italian vs. British cuisine. By the way, where should my beau set up his band..I was thinking just around the corner by the fountain...lovely setting for some wilder dancing. Loving these Bellinis Dahling! Divine Party. You've outdone yourself this year!

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  187. Don't worry about Nigella! She's out the back with me and the Limo drivers playing poker...And she's winning!

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  188. I am glad to hear that Glenn is keeping his sword sheathed this year. All the previous waving about made me a bit anxious...of course coming in from the river and the garden, i did have to avoid a plethora of red puddles. How many casualties thus far?

    Glenn, if you see anything pale running through the woods, don't shoot: Steve has sort of a hairy chest (and, ahem, other places). Maybe I should get him an orange vest.

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  189. Linda, set up the tent again this year, I would love to try a fling or two.

    Jeffrey, Cate plucked a lovely blond reddish hair for you and wrapped it in a scented handkerchief; enjoy.

    Isabel, you dance divinely. Cate is envious, and even Tess is taking notice. Thanks for the honor.

    Yoli, my red Impala SS runs like a top; fully restored; thanks.

    Tess tells me that Cate's dress is coral, not peach; cool to know.

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  190. No casualties, Tom, for they have their swords tipped for safety. Cornel Wilde has beaten Basil Rathbone now, and Johnny Depp has challenged Wilde it seems; pretty hairy stuff.

    Speaking of hairy, yes, I guess I did see Steve streaking through part of the patio. He seems to wearing a silver thong for modesty, which is tasteful considering the occasion.

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  191. Omigod, Clive Owen in a kilt! I just drooled in my cocktail.

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  192. oh, my dear dear duchess - i must say that the magnificent night danced its way into this most magnificent morning - the dancing still going on with the strong of heart and of foot - as for me, well, my gypsy blood runs rampant with the night and into the morn, not the least bit weary of the dance the drink and more especially the wonderful company - and yes yes, liam DID slip [with a little help from me] ever so gracefully into a kilt for a change of - uh, pace - shall we say! i love a man who knows how to wear a skirt! sometimes his own, even! after having gone through my dance card several times, i just threw it to the wind, along with several other things that were just too, well, too restrictive, if you know what i mean - so glad to see you wore your birthday shoes as i did, as well - however, darling, i simply could not do the woolleyboolley sock thing - so glad i changed my mind from the midnight blue gown i had first decided upon - i see that the nefarious nigella chose the identical dress! some people will do just anything to make an entrance! and then, that scene she made with your fabulous escort! dear goodness! in any event, we are having such a fab time, dear lady - liam is having another plate of those divine confections! he has such a sweet tooth! we're both sitting this one out for a bit of refreshment - and people-watching! what a grand time - oh, and glenn was right! his tartan matches mine perfectly - and if i do say so myself, we make quite a figure on the floor in our tartans! well, dear liam is needing my attention, dahling, so i'll put this little gizmo back in my bag - and i'll be sure to find you before the dancing is done! again, fab time!

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  193. Arthur Lubin, who produced the MISTER ED series, and directed most of the FRANCIS films told me that the old cowboy out there, Allan "Rocky" Lane did the voice for the nag; few people knew that. He was never given credit for it. Chill Wills had a chuckle over that with Alan Young who played Wilbur Post in the series. I loved Young in the original TIME MACHINE.

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  194. Paula, yup Clive does look dreamy and manly in his kilt, but Duchovny has kind of knobby knees it seems.

    Gypsywoman, hey, Liam and you are a perfect match today. I envy you your party going stamina. Did you major in such in college? Mel is looking for Liam; probably good to keep them apart. Mel is a shrimp compared to Liam.

    Does anyone know what book MISTER ED is based on?

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  195. Tess, you work such magic.

    About an hour ago, I saw Miss Jane Austen sit down at a table by the fountain, to be joined by Miss Charlotte Brontë. I thought, Oh dear, wait for the fireworks!

    Miss Brontë had once famously written a critique of Miss Austen’s work, seemingly killing her with kindness:

    “Anything like warmth or enthusiasm, anything energetic, poignant, heartfelt, is utterly out of place in commending these works,” she had written. “She does her business of delineating the surface of the lives of genteel English people curiously well. There is a Chinese fidelity, a miniature delicacy, in the painting. She ruffles her reader by nothing vehement, disturbs him with nothing profound. The passions are perfectly unknown to her: she rejects even a speaking acquaintance with that stormy sisterhood.”

    But there they both sat, smiling, laughing, sipping the vintage champagne and nibbling on those delicious Scottish quail eggs.

    They parted as friends, I am sure.

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  196. What a marvelous event, Tess. I will have to take a breather from all the dancing and flirting and catch up on all the gossip. There are some crazy things goin' on here!

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Inject a few raisins of conversation into the tasteless dough of existence.
― O. Henry (and me)