Two hours later the volume had risen at the long table. The waiters were perpetually arriving with new carafes of red wine. There had been more photo sessions. No one any more wanted pictures of Ivan and Sadie. It was Felix and Radek who were constantly frozen in high definition digital snapshots. After coffee, the banker type, at the opposite head of the table, stood up on his chair and began knocking a fork against his wine glass. “Hear ye, hear ye,” he bellowed. “In honour of the birthday boy we are going to play spin the bottle.”
There were whoops and applause.
“Tell us the rules, Ed,” shouted Rory Pincher.
Gavin Sterling was up on his feet, marauding around the large rustic table like a hunter stalking prey. His camera kept firing off photon explosions.
“The rules are as follows. We take it in turns to spin the bottle. This is to be done at the centre of the table so there’s an equal chance of it pointing at everyone. Here now is my innovation - you make for your indicated victim under the table…”
More cheers and whooping.
“The mouth to mouth snog has to go on for a full ten seconds. If you refuse, the forfeit is the removal of three items of your clothing and a shot of grappa.”
“I’m only wearing three items of clothing.”
“Tough. I’ll go first.”