Monday, December 7, 2009

Santa no more

Can anyone spot a resemblance between the two men pictured? All will become clear further down.

In the words of the Four Seasons, O what a night! Have just spent a few days in London having meetings and obviously, having some social gatherings in the name of Christmas, the finale being my annual reunion with my best Fleet Street girlfriends Clare, Sarah, Ange and Sally. I really hope we are as loud, un-pc and bolshy 10/20/30years from now.....

These are the bits I remember...

- Trying to pick the cheapest vino Sheekeys had to offer when a bottle of Champagne arrives at the table courtesy of Iain (what a lovely gesture!) Husbands be warned, we are all cheap dates when it comes to sending a bottle to the table.

- The unfortunate lovey dovey couple sitting next to us who thought they were in for a bit of cultural conversation and sweet nothings only to discover they were seated next a raucously indiscreet bunch of Fleet Street's finest ..... but who quickly realised they had the hottest table in the room as they stopped talking to each other so they could listen in on our increasingly steamy and uncensored conversation instead.

- Sally refusing to let anyone else get a word in edgways (or was that me) as she pulled off her best interview technique of steering the juiciest conversation onwards and upwards and never losing focus. This is what comes of staying wonder she earns more than the rest of us combined.

-Finding ourselves in a pub in Dean Street at a table with three nutters who had been on a bender all day long and were unable to speak or focus. Even scarier, they were women. We were so scared of being glassed that we were rooted to the spot until we could drain our glasses and leave.

- Hitting the hotel bar only for Sarah to peak after 15 bottles of wine and Secret Santa and start nodding off in the corner....NB to Sarah - you are only getting away with it because your children are under five, next year, you will be forced to come out for the duration of the night/morning/lunch in dark glasses the next day.

- Clare insisting on an early hours visit to Gerrys, even though it was raining cats and dogs, it was 2am and we really should have all just done the decent thing and gone to bed. Interestingly tho, as soon as bed was mentioned, Ange was RARING to go, sprinting out of the hotel and insisting that we should trot along for old times sake.

- Clare falling alseep in the rickshaw taking us to Gerrys, and refusing to wake up on arrival. She was out cold for 20 minutes despite being shaken and shouted at. She insists she had his best interests at heart because he earnt a far bigger fare out of the extra time it took to wake her.

- Arriving at Gerrys and bunking in again under an assumed name(thank you Caroline S for making every Soho night out unforgettable even though you aren't actually with us) only for Clare to shout up a vodka and promptly crash out on me without taking so much as a sip of her drink (what was that about cheap dates?) Ange and Karen have to mount a paramedic drive to get her out again.

- Falling asleep in the hotel lobby (guess who?) while I order a cab as yes, Clare encore une fois, refuses to crash on Ange and Sarah's hotel room floor.

- Having a stand up ruck at 5am outside her house with our driver who wants £70 for a £30 journey (I knew we were in trouble when a top of the range AMG Mercedes pulled up, and it was our cab.)

- Clare offering to trade my suitcase, with all my Christmas shopping and fab new (unnecessary) purchases in exchange for the cab fare.

- Me screaming as he loads my case into the boot, and Clare screeching 'Kazza, you'd be sooooo crap at poker!' as she urges him to drive off with my suitcase. We beat him down to £50 but it took half an hour in the rain with my suitcase as the bait. Clare's verdict? 'We'd have got him down to £30 if you hadn't been such a pussy about your case.'

- Opening the door to the spare room at 6.30am after two cups of tea and an inquest into the night, to find Nosferatu in my bed (see picture.) A Hallowe'en mask stuffed with Clare's pjs was on the pillow, and her husband Nick thought it was funny to pad out the body under the duvet. I laughed til I had a heart attack. Funnily enough, it did bear a startling resemblance to Nick (he's the one in the first picture.)

Have cancelled Christmas as I can't take any more excitement. Talking of which, Santa has been cancelled in our house forever and I am devastated. Issy was talking about what she wants for Christmas and I said, Well, put it all in your letter to Santa. She shot me a withering look and said in a loaded tone: ‘Mum, I know that Santa is the same person as the tooth fairy because the writing is the’s DADDY!’ Me: ‘Are you sure about that?’ (Actually it’s me who always writes the Santa note thanking her for the mince pie and carrot for Rudolph, after I have knocked back Santa’s brandy.)

I felt completely knocked for six and Iain must have looked gutted too because she then piped up: ‘I know you’re both upset, I’m really sorry! I’ve been meaning to tell you for ages that I don’t believe in Santa anymore but I didn't know how to tell you!!!!’

So this is how Christmas will be different this year....

- No more having to buy different wrapping paper for ‘Santa’s’ pressies. When the girls were young, I once made the mistake of using the same paper and had a whole lot of explaining about why Santa got his paper from WH Smiths just like us.

- No more squirrelling presents away for weeks and sneaking them down in the early hours of Christmas morning to put by the fireplace.

- No more making talcum powder snowy footprints by the fireplace (always loved that bit.)

- No more eating the mince pie, drinking the brandy (I loved that bit more) and writing in squiggly handwriting.

- No more dawn raids on Christmas morning as Issy charges in to say, ‘Has he been?’ (I’m crying as I write this, gonna miss that bit most of all.)