“Wish I’d worn trousers,” moaned Natasha.
“Me too,” we all grumbled.
“Let’s go round the back and see if the conservatory door is open.” I suggested.
Thank goodness it was. The blast of heat inside was a shock and we threw our coats off as we rushed into Amber’s gorgeous new glossy white kitchen to hunt for glasses and the trays of munchies we knew would be in the swanky American fridge. We could hear the shower running and the tinny tone of Amber’s off key voice as she sang something unrecognisable.
Warm and relaxed after the first sip of our favourite wine, Cerys, Kate, Libby, Natasha and me (April) kicked off our shoes, dropped into Amber’s super large, soft as feathers sofa and chatted about our day as we waited for our hostess to join us.
Then, we compared the quality of this year’s Christmas gifts and as usual, Cerys’ husband had outshone the rest of the husbands in the gift stakes. Tickets for Robbie Williams at Cardiff’s Principality Stadium next June has placed Cerys’ Matt at the top of the husband chart again this year, following his 2015 triumph – a weekend in Venice.
In comparison, my hubby seems to have won the worst gift category once again. This year, his idea of a great gift was a toilet seat. At least the colour matches our bathroom!
When Amber finally joined us, saying, “Oh, you’re all here already,” the conversation turned to the shockingly long list of our favourite celebrities who passed away in 2016.
As a massive Country music fan, Amber was most upset by the passing of Merle Haggard. I have to confess, the only song of his I know is “Think I’ll Just Stay Here and Drink.” It kind of sums me up! Well that’s what hubby says.
The celebrity whose death upset me most was David Bowie. When my daughter told me of his death, I couldn’t understand what she was saying. The words didn’t make sense to me. She kept repeating it and I found myself trying to figure out who she was talking about. That sounds crazy, I know but it just didn’t seem possible that the man who gave me Ziggy Stardust / Aladdin Sane / The Thin White Duke: all those characters who were my friends as I was growing up could suddenly not be there anymore.
Libby however was most distressed about the death of funny lady, Caroline Aherne. I think it’s because she had styled Caroline’s hair a couple of times when she was filming locally. They’d really hit it off and had kept in touch, just Christmas cards and the occasional email but still, it was enough to form an attachment.
“Where’s Rose?” Amber asked, suddenly.
“Not back from Trinidad yet.” I answered. “I think she’s got another week with her Dad before she comes home. It’s the first time the kiddies have met their paternal grandparents.”
Amber wondered if Rose had taken her Ann Summers demonstration kit with her. Wherever Rose went, she had a few small samples tucked away in her handbag. It’s the reason she is a “National Top Party Organiser.”
We all agreed that we were missing Rose. Her saucy chatter always made us howl. It didn’t seem right – The Prosecco Club without Rose Baptiste was like..
”An ice cream cone without a flake,” said Cerys….
“Gin and Tonic without Lemon” added Libby.
“Champagne without bubbles” Amber nodded enthusiastically.
“To Rose.” I said as I raised my glass. “Let’s hope she’s having the time of her life.”
“To Rose.” We all drank a toast to our crazy, funny friend and Amber opened another bottle. I think it was our fourth.
Natasha announced that she’d bought a George Michael’s Greatest Hits CD that afternoon and she thought we should play it, in memory of the man himself. She dipped into an oversized azure blue Fiorelli grab bag.
“Nice bag,” cooed Libby. “Crimbo pressie?”
Natasha told us that she’d picked it up in the Debenhams sale that afternoon. The bag was passed around and we all agreed that Natasha had nabbed herself a super bargain.
Nicely relaxed now, we draped our legs across each other’s laps and flung back our heads as we crooned …”I’m never gonna dance again, guilty feet have got no rhythm…”
When the song was over we decided to each pick our favourite George Michael or Wham! song.
Cerys and Natasha didn’t hesitate.
“Last Christmas” they announced, together.
Amber couldn’t decide between Jesus to a Child and Too Funky and Libby plumped for Club Tropicana.
Kate, who had been unusually quiet until this point said,
“Kissing a Fool. Jason and I had it for our first dance at our wedding.”
We all felt uncomfortable. Kate and Jason had recently split up after he left her for an ex-girlfriend.
“What about you, April?” asked Kate. They all turned to look at me. When it comes to music, they expect me to be controversial.
I told them that the George Michael track I like most is his version of Sting’s Roxanne. They all stared at me and I thought they were going to say that doesn’t count because it’s not George’s own song but before they could, the next track on the CD started.
With that, we downed our wine, put down our glasses and got to our feet.
You put the boom-boom into my heart
You send my soul sky high when your lovin' starts
Jitterbug into my brain - Goes a bang-bang-bang 'til my feet do the same.
Five loud, out of tune voices belted out the words of Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go: furniture was pushed out of the way and The Prosecco Club ended it’s December meeting in exactly the same way as every other: Singing, dancing and loving each other’s company.
At the end of January 2017, it will be Rose’s turn to host the monthly meeting of The Prosecco Club. I’m hoping she’ll bring home some yummy treats to share with us.
Love April xx
Friends are people who know you really well and like you anyway. (Quote: Gregg Tamblin)