Center parcs – le weekend

Or things you learn when you are drunk

Or 7 women in the rapids, and one stood up

I am sorry I haven’t had time to update you on all the shenanigans before this, but all hell broke loose at work while I was away, so Zoe and I escaped to Wagamama’s for lunch yesterday for some peace and quiet instead of me blogging for your reading pleasure. So here I am again, rye toast with veggimite inside me on the train typing away. At the moment I at Havant, it is still dark (why do I do this to myself), and the carriage has just been joined by a very heavy smoker, so the air smells fusty – cough.

Work had a cocktail party on Thursday night; that we were told we had to go to, in no uncertain terms, on Wednesday. So I had to call Sarah and warn her that I wasn’t going to be down as soon as I thought I would be, I also had to rethink what I was taking with me and went into work wearing tracky bottoms, which was a lot more comfortable and heartily recommended. We have so much confidential paperwork lying around, (no ISO accreditation for us), that we had to put it in cupboards, boxes and generally get it out of sight. When you read ‘we’ actually read Zoe and I. We got covered in crap on Tuesday, so both of us came in in ‘comfortables’ as Nancy Blackett would say. Our ‘to do’ lists went out the window, as the paperwork that had to be cleared took what seemed like forever to get put away. About 4ish I went to the disabled loo, had a bird bath and sorted the barnet and make up out. I got changed and when I walked back out, everyone looked at me like I had grown an extra head. Yes this is the difference in me coloured in with make-up.

The party itself was lots of fun, I met Andrew who is acting as my mentor for RHE, James our head-hunter, who is lovely and is putting me in contact with clients in Melbourne that he knows, and introduced myself to all sorts of people I only normally speak to on the phone. We have a mezzanine above the accounts department which holds 250 people, and believe me it was rammed with guests. The caterers told us that they supply a bottle of champagne per head, as it usually gets drunk. I didn’t think I had drunk that much until I woke up the next morning, but when people are filling your glass up for you, you lose track

I toddled off about 7.45, got on the train to Haywards Heath and sat down, just as it pulled out the station, Sarah met me – looking rough as she had just shrugged off a migraine bless her, and we ate fish and chips in front of Hells Kitchen and gossiped. Drinking copious amounts of water, 2 pints before I went to bed, a pint during the night and another 2 in the morning I cleared my head, but by the time Sonia collected us I had been peeing for England. We got in the car, filled up with fuel, Sonia remembered she hadn’t got her driving licence, so we went round the corner, I got out with her and had another pit stop, Sarah remembered she didn’t have hers, so we drove back to her flat and were off, only 20 minutes after we started.

We had to stop at IKEA on the way up to Barton Mills, Cheryl had given Sonia a list of things she needed for the hotel. We decided to have lunch there as well, Swedish meatballs – yum-meh, so filled the trolley with everything we needed first, paid and put it in the car before lunch. I am not going to describe what we did in there, in case there are easily corruptible people reading this. Let’s me just say, it wasn’t always legal.

Back in the car after our lunch we followed a truck that was weaving in and out of traffic, it was annoying Sarah, so Sonia started teasing her about the 7 habits of highly effective people. One of the things to do is that you should let things slide, as only you allow yourself to get annoyed by things, the object itself cannot annoy you. As we turned off the road to Sonia’s village the truck whistled overhead on the fly-over, Sarah said with authority that ‘The truck wasn’t going to annoy me now.’

‘I’m sure that one will’ said Sonia pointing.
‘What one?’ asked Sarah.
‘I don’t know, pick one.’

I got the giggles and had to write it down, so I know it is word perfect. Those four sentences sum up the relationship that we have with each other, we all tease and take the mickey mercilessly, in rotation, no holes-barred and without malice or discrimination. Divorce (mine), job (Sarah), housework (Sonia), drinking (everyone), Ryan (Leanne), men, (everyone) the list is endless and expands as the time between us extends. Loud laughter follows us too, so loud in fact it gets us in trouble, but more later.

We all met at The Olde Bull, Cheryl and Wayne’s pub, they have been running it since May and although it is obviously hard work, it looks like they are loving it, and as they are slowly redecorating as they go, the pub/restaurant/hotel is coming back to life. Cheryl had been out shopping when we arrived, when she changed she had the tag still hanging off her jumper, more giggles. We piled back into the cars and pulled into traffic for the 7 miles to Center Parcs.

Although it was only just down the road, it could have been miles away. Elvedon Forest is all pine trees, swaying gracefully in the wind, showering their long needles everywhere. We collected our 3 sets of keys and drove to the cabin. It was so newly built it wasn’t finished properly, I pointed out the parking for loading and unloading, but Sonia drove right up to the door followed by Emma, as there was already a bus unloading next to us, which confused Son slightly, well that is her excuse – we think she just didn’t want to carry anything really. We clanked our way inside after running around picking bedrooms. I was in the one at the back of the house with Sarah. It had a whirlpool bath, twin beds and was looking out on the forest and the house next door.

The people unloading next door were busy helping severely disabled adults into the house, some in wheelchairs. We decided to move the cars later, unpacked the food, and got stuck into the vodka. Cheryl managed to take her shoes off before she poured herself a drink. We also all had a round of cheese sandwiches to soak up alcohol. The taxi was coming to get us at 7.30, so I went up for my shower at 6, figuring that if other people needed the shower I would be better off out the way, as I tend to stress when I am running late. We were gracing Norwich with our presence tonight, so glamming up we all sat on each other’s beds and laughed at Sonia trying to put make-up on, which is painful to watch. Covering ourselves, the furniture and the floor with glitter we were ready on time, and took bottles of vodka and red bull (Emma), vodka tonic (me) vodka and lemonade (everyone else). Drinking them in the minibus, CJ and I finished ours and threw the bottles away when we got there, the other two bottles we put beside a bin. Although we can remember most of the night clearly, there are some hazy patches that showed up in the photos the following morning, and prompted the following questions:

Who was the guy in the pink shirt in the pub?
Who was the guy in the white shirt in the pub?
Why are they in nearly every photo we took in the pub?

On reflection we were trolleyed before we got into the pub, I switched to water about then, better for my liver and left me with a clearer head. After walking down the road to the club, Sonia and Emma collected their bottles they had left by the bin and carried on drinking. The club was excellent, good music, enough room to dance in and great loos. Although the following points should be noted:

If you dance like a mad thing and step on your own foot with a stiletto heel, it hurts, leaves a dent, a bruise and will make people fall about laughing when you tell them.
Don’t try and text on a friends phone when you can’t remember what you are doing or can no longer co-ordinate your fingers.

It was a great night, and although the club was open till four, they had stopped playing decent music and moved into r’n’b, which we all hate, so we decided to get some food. I was shocked to find it was 1 am, I had no idea it was that late. We went out the club, stopping for Cheryl, Sonia and CJ to be interviewed on MTV, behind them was a sign saying ‘Don’t say anything here you will regret in the morning’. Needless to say, CJ did, and was teased about it all weekend. She is hoping that it won’t be shown on TV.

Over the road was a kebab house, ordering our food we sat down to eat, Emma put her shoes on the seat beside her. A guy came and sat on that table and threw them out his way, lots of giggles again, CJ hadn’t got her chips or her coke, so was complaining noisily. When they appeared she promptly spilt coke all down her white jeans, then blobbed mayonnaise right on one of the drips for good measure, laughter. Sarah’s feet were black, Lisa (Muriel) , Cheryl (Muriel), and Sonia (Little Lippy) were killing themselves laughing at Emma talking about the Ice cream van. Pol-ice van. And decided to phone Smithy, Emma’s other half to tell him that we had lost her, it started off well, he believed Sonia, but not Cheryl or CJ.

I inherited a new nickname through the night – Gary. But we can’t remember where it came from, or why. Lisa and Cheryl are both Muriel, because they are terrible, (Muriel’s Wedding) and there are so many other names floating around for the gang, you could lose track. Most of them have at least 2 sometimes 3 nicknames, used randomly. It confuses the hell out of you when you are not used to it. Emma, CJ and Cheryl I hadn’t seen since Sonia’s hen weekend, which was nearly a year ago. Sonia and Sarah I email lots and try and meet every couple of months, but it was the first time I had met Lisa at all. At times conversation moves around you, and you haven’t got a scoobies what is going on or what they are talking about. But lying around in jim-jams with hangovers, cooking breakfast and making sandwiches, teas, reading papers and having a BBQ, let alone swimming with them all, you just have such a laugh, it doesn’t matter that I don’t see them as often.

I have to close now, we are hurtling through Berrylands and I need to read it through, amend stuff and then prep an email to myself with this attached so I can upload it for you. I will try and cover swimming, barbecue, a very lazy Sunday and the American Diner at lunch time. But will leave you with a question that had us crying with laughter from Cheryl.

‘Is Borat the Prime Minister of Kazakhstan?’



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