Just a quickie to say the steak, chips and veg strategy worked out well and for some reason or other it all tasted reasonable. Of course I remembered the watchword of the uncertain cook. “Don’t forget the wine”, and I think the general drift towards oblivion helped the situation. Everyone stayed chatting till after eleven which is pretty late for a weekday. For us at least.
In the end, seeing my partners eyes start to drift upward as she struggled to stay awake. I said to our guests, “Hope you enjoyed the evening which is now over and your hostess is about to keel over in her chair”. They laughed and left. Good evening all in all without any catering disasters or wine spilt on the carpet