Natasha assured me that the chinking of glass coming from the back seat signified enough of our favourite fizzy wine to satisfy us and the rest of our boozy group until well into the early hours of tomorrow morning if the mood took us. So I put my foot down and sped along the wide road leading out of town to where Rose lives.
This was going to be the first of our girly meet-ups in 2017 and we were all excited to hear about Rose’s trip to Trinidad to visit her family. Rose had invited me and Amber to stay at her house for the night; hence we were both driving to Rose’s instead of getting a taxi as we do normally when the Prosecco Club meets.
As we pulled up outside Rose’s neat semi-detached bungalow her 12 year old daughter, Alisha, was just leaving the house.
“How was your trip to Trinidad sweetheart? I asked.
“Brilliant, thanks Auntie Ape. Look my Great Aunt Olive gave me this.”
Alisha proudly showed me a coral necklace before bouncing off across the road for a sleep-over with her best friend.
Inside Rose’s comfortable home, filled with brightly coloured soft furnishings and large vibrant wall hangings, there was the wonderful aroma of Rose’s home cooking. Kate, Cerys and Libby were already there dipping into the mounds of spicy snacks, and their noses twitching from the fizz of their bubbly drinks which they gulped down to take the heat out of their tongues.
“Hey, save some for us!” Natasha called over her shoulder as she tried to squeeze several bottles of Prosecco into the fridge.
“You’ll have to put some outside to keep cool.” Rose told her. “We’ve all gone a bit OTT this month.”
“Nobody has given up alcohol as a New Year resolution then?” I faked surprise as five horrified faces stared back at me. “OK only joking!” I laughed and raised my glass. “To 2017: let it be the best year ever.”
We chinked glasses and began talking about New Year resolutions.
“Who can remember what Amber’s New Year resolution was?” asked Libby.
“To always be on time.” We all chanted together.
With that the kitchen door opened, and in fell Amber with her arms full of Prosecco and boxes of Thornton’s chocolates.
The rest of us laughed.
“What’s so funny?”
“Nothing Amber, we’re just talking about New Year resolutions.”
“Oh that - waste of time,” Amber said sniffily. “I wouldn’t bother with nonsense like that.”
The rest of us laughed. Well, Amber had been a bit tipsy when she’d stated her intention to start being on time.
Rose instructed us to grab a plate of food each and go through to the lounge. There were candles all around and Whitney Houston’s voice drifted around the room.
Whitney Houston is Rose’s favourite singer and she cried for days after Whitney died. I hoped she wasn’t going to get all maudlin tonight after playing Whitney’s music.
“So tell us about your holiday Rose” I asked.
“Well, it didn’t get off to the best start to tell the truth. There’d been an earthquake off shore the day before we arrived: it shook the residents of the town. When we got there, all the shops were closed while the store keepers collected up the stock which had been thrown off the shelves due to the quake. Most of the furniture in my Dad’s house was out on the front street. Having been tipped up by the force of the rumbling, my step-mum decided she might as well have a spring clean. So we had to stay in a hotel which is a little way inland for the first few nights. Like the majority of the locals, Maisie doesn’t like to rush anything and spent quite a lot of time drinking coffee with her neighbours on the sofas by the side of the street before she actually got around to doing the cleaning and putting the furniture back inside the house.”
We all laughed. If there’s one thing that drives Rose mad it’s the laid back “manana” attitude of the people of Island where she was born. It’s one of the reasons she so rarely returns to the place of her birth.
“Getting back to the subject of New Year resolutions,” Cerys ventured, “I’ve lost 4lb since I started my diet.”
We all congratulated Cerys but we’re not sure why she feels the need to lose weight. She’s like a bean pole.
“I think I’ll put it all back on tonight though.” She said reaching for another forkful of pineapple chow.
“I have a goal for 2017.”Libby announced. “I’m going to open a second hair salon. On the other side of town hopefully.”
We all agreed that was an amazing goal and, knowing Libby the way we do, we have no doubt she will achieve her ambition.
“Whose turn is it to go to the bar?” Amber held her glass out and remained on the sofa with her feet tucked comfortably under her. Rose threw a cushion.
“Stop being lazy Amber! You get the refills. Here, get one for me while you’re at it.”
With that we each picked up a cushion and lobbed them at Amber’s head. Eventually she gave in and went to the kitchen returning with two bottles.
“Here, these will keep us going for half an hour or so.” She popped the corks and started to pour the wine. “Who wants to come to the cinema with me tomorrow? I want to see La La Land.”
“Seen it,” I said. “I went with the girls from work on Tuesday.”
“Any good?” This was from Kate who was sorting through a box of CDs.
I told my friends that I’m not sure whether I liked it or not. The thing is, it’s billed as a feel good film and it actually has a very sad ending. I came out of the cinema feeling a bit depressed and rather cheated. However the music is great and I wouldn’t say it’s a terrible film, although I think it will become dated quite quickly.
The other girls mumbled that perhaps they wouldn’t bother to watch La La Land after all.
“Well I think you should see it and make up your own minds,” I said cheerfully. “You might love it.”
“Can I change the music Rose?” Kate waved Now 47 in the air.
“Remember that Christmas party, at the Rugby club, when the DJ didn’t turn up? I think it was 1999 or maybe it was 2000? You had this CD in your car April. You brought it in and they played it on the club’s sound system over and over again. That was a great night. God, I was sooooo drunk!”
“I lost my gold sandals that night. I took them off cos my feet were aching and I never saw them again. They were expensive too.”
Amber was always losing shoes. She only ever wore outrageously over-priced shoes.
“They were Jimmy Choo’s weren’t they, Amber?” I asked.
“Yes, Karl brought them back from a trip to New York. He wasn’t happy about me losing them the first time I wore them.”
Kate closed the drawer of the CD player and, as the opening bars of Robbie Williams’ ‘Rock DJ’ started to play, she turned up the volume. “Come on!” She yelled.
We needed no more encouragement. Rose, Libby, Cerys, Amber, Natasha and I joined Kate in pushing back the coffee tables and the pouffe to make space to dance.
Me with the floorshow
Kickin' with your torso
Boys getting high
And the girls even more so
Wave your hands if you’re not with the man
Can I kick it?
(Yes you can)
Cerys shouted “I’ve got tickets to see Robbie in June.”
“Yes, we know.” We all replied in unison.
It’s fair to say that Cerys is one of Mr Williams’ biggest fans!
I have no idea what time it was when we finally said goodnight. I do know that Rose’s neighbours were a little disgruntled by the noise. They didn’t return my smile as I left the following morning. Rose said she took them a bottle of Prosecco later in the day so hopefully they will still be speaking to her.
It’s going to be my turn to host the Prosecco Club meeting in February. I’ll tell you all about it afterwards, if you like!