How many friends does one person need...

Image of tealights in jars on a table in a dark room

A friend once described me as having 'over-sociability' disorder. He is an introvert. I am not. He did not perceive a need to chat to people he didn't know, or ask them about their lives, or invite them over for a cuppa. I saw every need to do all of those things.

Basically, I like people. I like finding out about them. I like asking a lot of questions. I like making new friends.

I am wondering if it's starting to get a little out of hand.

Last Saturday night, we were honoured to cater a dinner for the volunteers at the Collectors' Plant Fair. These hardworking folk are into gardening and plants in a big way. This includes food growing, and sustainability of our food sources. They're plant lovers of all persuasions, and supporters of causes that support the vulnerable. In short, they're our people. We wanted to cook for them.

The venue for the dinner, was the mindblowing Hawkesbury EarthCare Centre, which sits in the grounds of the University of Western Sydney. This extraordinary team constructed their building themselves, using sustainable building principles. They have created a wonderful, warm place surrounded by organic, productive gardens. They are passionate about sustainably and ethically growing the food that we love to cook, and you love to eat.

If the story ended there, I would have been very happy. One dinner catered and two sets of new friends. Winning, I say.

But it didn't end there.

The oven in the kitchen at the EarthCare Centre wasn't large enough to manage the number of people we were expecting at the dinner. So I made friends with Steve. Steve loaned me an oven to manage the dinner overflow.

All set, I thought. And a bonus friend to boot.

The manager at the EarthCare Centre phoned, "We have no power." "Sorry?" I replied. "There's a problem at the University and we have no power." Um...

Given that we were now friends, we struck a deal. "If I get a tonne more tealights, do you think you can get us a generator?" I was resisting the urge to have a panic attack, or a tantrum, or both. Perhaps simultaneously. "Yes, I think I can get a generator," he replied. You see, friends work well together.

With a partially loaded van we headed to the kitchen to collect all the food for the event. It was then I discovered that I didn't have enough friends. I made friends with Bill. Bill is a locksmith. Bill became my best friend on Saturday afternoon, when I discovered that the keys to the kitchen were in the car. Not the car I was driving.

No, they were in the car with the senior recipe tester and all the junior recipe testers.

On the other side of Sydney.

When he arrived, my new bestie Bill had the lock sorted out in about 3.5 seconds. We finished packing the van, and were just about to get on our way again. My very best friend, the senior recipe tester, arrived a little breathless, and handed me the misplaced set of keys.

We were now somewhat behind schedule and concerned that we wouldn't get the tables set up before it became so dark in the building we couldn't see what we were doing. The senior looked pained. "The juniors and I will come and help set up tables," he offered.

The evening was terrific. The generator powered the oven, which enabled us to serve dinner hot. The van powered a spotlight, usually reserved for spotting kangaroos, which was produced by yet another friend and hooked up to the kitchen window. This gave us light in the kitchen. The tealights, in copious quantities, illuminated the table so people could see where their meal was. We are so grateful for the opportunity to serve the members of this community.

In an effort to balance the ledger, the senior recipe tester is reviewing our friendship.

(My thanks to Kate C for allowing me to use this photo).