The British Community Association (BCA) held their annual black tie ball on the lawn of the British Ambassador’s residence in Garden City on Friday, celebrating Queen Elizabeth’s II birthday and raising tens of thousands of Egyptian pounds for charity in the process.
As Cairo’s British schools put up the shutters for the summer and parents and teachers alike make for the green rolling hills of their island home, the Queen’s Birthday Ball is Cairo’s signature event that signals summer time.
Britain’s ambassador to Egypt Dominic Asquith, toasted Her Majesty’s health and the approximate 600 guests joined him in wishing the British Head of State a happy birthday.
The British Embassy is getting a new stylish black iron crash barrier, which possibly is a birthday gift – or maybe there is a Formula One race scheduled for Garden City soon.
But most likely it is just a little DIY (do-it-yourself home improvement), of which the Brits are so fond, replacing the unsightly chunks of concrete which had formerly been part of the security deterrent.
The front yard of the Ambassador’s residence is a marvellous venue for a party, and everyone was on fabulous form, quenching their thirst before dinner with English bitter, and gin and tonics, under the natural canopy of the garden’s broad trees. Guests were keen to chat and catch-up, whilst cherishing the surroundings.
One sad absence was Janice, who edits the British Community Associations (BCA) magazine, as she was bitten by a hound recently when out camping in the desert. A mangy, mad dog trotted out of the dunes and attacked Janice’s Alsatian. In the melee Janice suffered a deep wound and a rabies scare.
Perhaps some of the LE 500,000 that the BCA raises for charity each year could go to a rabies research clinic?
This impressive figure goes to helping a number of charities, including the Abu Zabal leper colony, the new children’s cancer hospital in Cairo, the British cemetery in Luxor, refugee centers, and Cairo street children.
It’s a little difficult to slip into another aspect of a society event following a discussion on leprosy. So I’ll just mention the three lessons I learnt from the BCA Ball:
1. Don’t wear a heavy woollen kilt, woollen socks or woollen jacket, as it is a mid-summer nightmare.
2. Let someone else organize the tickets, or start a courier service.
3. Book the baby-sitter for the morning as well as the evening.
Every party needs good music, and this year the band was flown in from the UK and it included former members of the Kinks, The Hollies and The Love Affair.
Lola, Lo lo, Loa… You get the picture. A dance floor packed with movers and shakers who resemble the Energizer bunny hip swivelling, pretending to be 18 again.
And being young is not all it s cracked up to be apparently. Sitting next to me at dinner was a 20-something woman who described herself as, “ravishingly gorgeous and witty .
When I told her I was writing this column, she added: “Intelligent and surprisingly single.
An age-old dilemma; a single girl can’t get a date in this town. She s Texan and enjoys Cuban cigars. I had to laugh, because otherwise I’d cry. Come on boys, you are letting the team down.
This meeting gave me the idea for a sitcom based in Cairo. Can you just imagine the other extreme of New York’s “Sex and the City ?
Four professional women: a diplomat, an international aid worker, a foreign correspondent, and the Charlotte character would have to be a pianist at the Cairo Opera House. Would Safe in the City work as a title?
Opening sequence: Camera zooms in on our four heroines striding along the Corniche. Then a shot of Qasr El-Nile Bridge and the masculine bronze lions. Cut to the Cairo Tower. Now the women gazing up at Talat Harb’s statue Downtown.
Episode One: A full moon, candles flickering in a light breeze, an embassy garden. The evening ends with the girls playing backgammon, dressed in their pyjamas, rueing the opportunities they missed for a meaningful relationship back home. The door bell rings. Is it that handsome young oil executive and his friends from the party, or is it Casper & Gambini’s?