Last night was my office Christmas party – this year going along to the Feast of the Pharaohs, this years version of the big party that the Christmas Company hold out at Easthampstead Park every year.
We’d been along to one of these a couple of years ago when the theme was Cirque Noel so it was interesting to see what was different.
The first and perhaps biggest change is thanks to the smoking restrictions that came in over the summer. Even though it is held in a marquee, the same rules apply as to any other indoor event, so whereas last time we knew a number of people who didn’t really enjoy the event thanks to the smokers on adjacent tables, this time it was totally smoke free – well aside from the copious amounts of dry ice of course…
As before you arrived in the bar area, and there was an hour or so of mingling and chatting over drinks before dinner. The curtain was then drawn back on the main marquee which again was over eighty tables surrounding a central stage. The courses of the four course dinner were again interspersed with entertainment on the main stage, and this was again later turned over to the guests for the disco. They also once again had the dodgems – just the kind of thing to settle your stomach after dinner!
Perhaps the thing that didn’t quite work this year was the theme – as someone on our table put it â€œDo you suppose anyone who planned this has actually been to Egypt?â€? The dancers performed several times during the evening, with routines that had a vague hint of Arabian Nights at times, and then there was a fire-eater that turned up later on. There was a brief moment of Walk Like an Egyptian, but aside from that there was nothing that you could specifically tie up with the theme. In fact it got positively bizarre towards the end with some weird routine with the fire eater that looked like some sort of pagan ritual, and then an even more weird routine with a net curtain… Maybe as a table full of software engineers we’re not the ideal people to judge, but anyway, we didn’t quite get what was going on!
The food was pretty good though, although the goats cheese and spinach starter seemed to be a bit of a love it or hate it option. As before it all turned up piping hot despite the nearly 1000 guests in the marquee needing to be served. We didn’t stay much after dinner, as with it being a Wednesday night, Beth had to be up and awake for school the next morning. However we did manage to get on the dodgems before we went – pictures of that along with the rest of the evening can be found in our picture galleries.
All in all, it was a great evening, and hopefully we’ll get a chance to go along to whatever they put on next year.