Party invites. . .it doesn't rain but it pours YOU won't be surprised if I tell you that last week's diary was a complete washout, both literally and metaphorically.

It all started on Wednesday, when I awoke to the dire forecasts of hazardous storms. Great.

My social diarist outfit would have to be amended.

I put on my massive parka, not a great look for a gal about town, but nor is the drowned rat look.

Our first engagement was the launch of the fourth collection of books in the Open Door series by New Island.

The series is the brainchild of author Patricia Scanlan and is aimed at adults learning to read and write.

Despite the wind and rain, a brave few made it to the event in the Mansion House, although Lord Mayor Michael Conaghan was nowhere to be seen.

Still, several of the 24 authors involved with Open Door turned up, including Roddy Doyle, Sheila Flanagan, Cathy Kelly, Deirdre Purcell and crime writer Julie Parsons.

Scanlan told me that, since the series started five years ago, it has gained a much broader readership.

"These books are not just for literacy programmes.

Older people are reading them as well as kids."

Scanlan edits the series in between writing her own novels. "It's very hectic, but very rewarding. The bottom line is your book might be the first book somebody reads."

Roddy Doyle was one of the few men at the event and when asked about his involvement, he said, "I like being useful. I don't like being asked to do ridiculous things for good causes, like celebrity bowling."

Doyle said he is currently taking a break from his trilogy of books, the second of which, Oh, Play That Thing, is out now.

Hope I die before I get elected to civic of"ce I DONNED the parka again to attend the Hard Rock Cafe launch in Temple Bar that evening.

The music was blaring and intensely irritating.

This was no place for the tired and cranky.

Rita Gilligan, a Galway native and the first ever Hard Rock Cafe waitress, was in much better form than I and told me what things used to be like back in the day of the first Hard Rock Cafe. "Back in '71, we thought it was going to last three months. I served the Stones and the Beatles."

She also explained how the tradition of lining the cafe walls with rock memorabilia started.

"The year after we opened, Clapton came in with a guitar and said 'hang it on the wall'.

"The next week, Pete Townsend sent in a guitar and said, 'mine is as good as his'. Now we have 87,000 pieces of memorabilia which are rotated every five years."

A meticulously coiffed Joe Elliott added one of his guitars to this collection on the way to his own launch for Def Leppard's Greatest Hits album.

"I'm a fan of the Hard Rock Cafe, " he told me over the blaring music. I too was finding it difficult to make conversation over the decibels, so I asked him about his shiny blond bob.

Where did the rock mullet go?

"It's been like this since 1995. I've obviously been out of the papers or wearing a hat."

Dublin-based band, The Piranhas were on hand to provide live music for the night and all we were waiting for now was the arrival of the lord mayor, who was going to mark the opening of the restaurant, rock'n'roll style, by smashing a guitar.

They had even weakened the neck of the guitar (I spotted a few tell tale incisions) so that the mayor would have an easy job, but in the end, we all got tired of waiting and Rita smashed it instead.

Denzille washout but it's all a gas nonetheless THE following evening the rain was still pouring down, but I couldn't face the shame of the parka again, so I wore an ineffective blazer.

By the time we got to the private cinema in Denzille Lane, the rain was hopping off the ground.

I tentatively made my way to the door, but went down in a puddle and let out a stream of ladylike invective. All my attempts at sans-parka elegance were ruined by my sodden foot.

I carried on fearlessly, for we were here to celebrate the launch of Herbal Essences' new Fearless Colour range.

Brand manager, To n y a Nagles told me, "It's the first home colourant without ammonia." I was offered a 'smell test', which showed the difference in scent between the leading competitor and the new Herbal Essences range. The Herbal Essences smelled lovely and fruity.

The girls then warned me not to inhale the leading competitor too deeply, but I suppose I don't know my own strength, as I felt my nose, eyes and frontal lobe begin to burn from the ammonia fumes.

I was feeling a little giddy as I chatted to former Rose of Tralee Tamara Gervasoni, who told me she is now working as a reporter for both Newstalk 106 and 98FM. It was time for me and my soggy foot to leave.

On the way out, the puddle had turned into a reservoir and, as Photographer was not forthcoming with an offer of a piggy-back, there was no option but to wade through it.

Oh sod this, just give me a hot water bottle I BATTLED on through what was starting to feel like the rapid onset of trench foot and headed up to Ron Black's for a party to celebrate Motorola's original phone designs.

Inside, I bumped into Motorola PR manager Barbara Mills, who told me that Motorola were the first phones to use the 'clamshell' style.

Enda Storey (from Enda Storey Productions) and his assistant Stuart Grainger were responsible for the lovely stars and sparkles on the floor and the Warholian pictures of Motorola phones on the walls.

But neither that, nor the tasty blue Cosmopolitans, were enough to lift my soggy spirits, so I left them to their celebrations.

Well I'm dry at least, but down a quid or 200 BYFriday I was dry and back in good spirits, not least because I was to attend a presentation in the brand new Chanel boutique in Brown Thomas, Dublin.

Decorated in the classic Chanel colours of black and white, it is incredibly chic.

Its walls are lined with ready-to-wear sunglasses, handbags, shoes and watches, amongst other objects of desire, and with jewellery prices starting from 150, there is certainly something for everyone here.

My mind was screaming, "Get. Out. Now!" but my mouth simply said, "Charge it, please."