The 8 dinner party conversations you’ll definitely have this weekend

dinner parties
dinner parties

We know what you’re going to be talking about at dinner tonight – if indeed, there is anyone out there who still has dinner parties. How? Because there are so many tongue-burningly pressing topics afoot. All week we’ve been texting each other while watching the news breaking on TV.

Rarely, if ever, have we had so many substantial subjects to chew over when we get together, and we’re not even finished with poring over the royal funeral yet. Here are the dinner party conversations you will definitely be having this weekend – so call us psychic.

Very big issue this, along with: who’s your provider, fixed or variable. Then, there’s the other issue of: should you downsize now, because of the stamp duty rise/no longer need the kids’ rooms/can’t afford to heat anywhere but the TV room and the novelty of cooking in a coat and hat will wear off fast. And what if we can’t sell our house, because everyone’s spooked and our house has “eats energy” written all over it?

What to say: Suddenly a tiny flat seems very appealing.

What not to say: Don’t have a mortgage. Paid it off years ago.

One of you was planning a road trip in America but now that would be like renting a chalet in Gstaad. Is it Cornwall again then? Do we need to start thinking… caravan? Or rent a motorhome? Or buy a motorhome and live in it until we put the heating on?

What to say: They’ve cleaned up the sea a lot near Penzance, I heard.

What not to say: So pleased we bought the house in Portugal.

This one starts before you walk through the door with the text: “See you later, wrap up warm, we’re not allowed the heating on until November!” You might think that you cannot have much of a conversation around putting the heating on but you would be quite wrong, because this is a top bragging subject; the later you go, the more mindful you are. And it’s well-known that the upper classes do not approve of heating – beyond keeping the Aga on year-round.

What to say: And we’re saving the planet.

What not to say: You should have got your windows done.

Aldi - Christopher Furlong/Getty Images
Aldi - Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

Did you see the Duchess of Rutland has, ages ago (much to the consternation of her glamorous daughters)? Well, of course she has. She’s running a leaky stately, the bills are through the roof and the roof – all 35 acres of it – needs fixing. If it’s good enough for the DR it’s good enough for us, plus, as everyone knows, its the height of fashion to mix high and low, when in GB, food is the first thing to economise on.

What to say: We practically live in Lidl. Have you tried their jamón?

What not to say: I’m not sure they have one in our area.

What interesting tricks do we have for staying warm or drying clothes? Is under-floor heating really better? Does your log burner heat the whole ground floor? Where are we with log burners? Do those heated ponchos work? Would you believe a few strategically placed draught excluders make all the difference? Wear a woolly hat at all times and keep a hand warmer in your pocket is my tip, and so on.

What to say: You want a Lakeland heated clothes airer.

What not to say: Might decamp to the house on Lamu.

This is a dead cert because, as it turns out (already been there), you and your friends’ monthly energy bills may differ considerably and then you will have quite a lot of fun trying to work out why this is the case. Almost certainly leads to confessions that you haven’t got a smart meter/have one but secretly cannot understand it.

What to say: Have you got a combi boiler?

What not to say: I bet all yours is going on Angela’s hairdryer.

Keir Starmer, leader of the Labour Party, and Victoria Starmer, his wife - Anthony Devlin/Bloomberg
Keir Starmer, leader of the Labour Party, and Victoria Starmer, his wife - Anthony Devlin/Bloomberg

I mean, did you see her at the Labour Party Conference? Definitely a strong seven or an eight. Possibly an eight (if you’re counting Sam Cam as an eight, which you are).

Everyone else was focusing on how suddenly Labour are looking seriously electable and Starmer is sounding a lot like a future prime minister (albeit sometimes a bit like a Dalek) but we were all thinking: “Now that looks like a couple we can see front row at the Coronation. No panic whatsoever about hair or dress codes.”

What to say: Given her time again she’d probably have worn a slip.

What not to say: What conference?

Covid or flu, or both? Don’t you know there’s a twindemic on? You may not be talking about this over dinner unless a) you had the jab on Friday and your arm really hurts and is making it hard to pour vodka from the bottle, or b) you have discovered you can have both jabs at the same time which, in these grim times, seems like a ray of sunshine and something to bring up in a lull between more pressing subjects.

What to say: But what if you get a double reaction?

What not to say: I never have jabs of any sort, thank you, and the polio scare is fake news.

Which topics of conversation have you found impossible to avoid? Let us know in the comments