There’s nothing like a posh picnic, with cucumber sandwiches and very large strawberries, to encourage your friend’s to reveal their grubbiest and maddest stories.
If it hadn’t been for last Saturday, in a park surrounded by a rose garden, with a gazebo in case it rained, and stripy deck chairs for those who'd like to perch on a chair rather than a blanket, I may not have known many a weird and wonderful tale from my friend’s murky pasts.
I would never have guessed my hairdresser once snogged Robbie Williams. This was back in the early days of Take That! and apparently when he was a sloppy kisser.
I'll admit to being gob-smacked to learn my future sister-in-law accidentally killed her pet fish by insisting it competed in her home-made obstacle course. Oh Katy, don’t worry my love, your secret is safe with us.
Not to mention the cat flap story. But clever me guessed the guilty culprit behind this sordid confession, and for my accurateness I was awarded a black and white T-shirt.
But it wasn’t any old black and white T-shirt. Oh no. This T-shirt was an exceedingly special item of clothing. For it bore the words, loudly and proudly, for all to see: Keep Calm And Listen To George Michael.
And so the theme was set. Wearing this item, and eating chocolate cupcakes decorated with pictures of George’s face, we bopped away to his dulcet tones, from the speakers on the tartan picnic blanket.
And the best forfeit I could ever possibly have imagined, for forgetting my friend Annie walked into a glass door playing hide ‘n’ seek during her 30th birthday shenanigans, was to wear a George Michael mask, singing the words from Faith to a unsuspecting stranger.
Unfortunately the stranger I chose did not have a clue who this mega pop star is, or what I was singing. Can you believe that, dear readers? He was Mexican and it seemed George’s amazing music had not reached this unlucky foreigner.
My dear friend and posh picnic organiser, Caron, had to explain I was singing Mr Michael’s lyrics as part of a forfeit.
“Who’s George Michael?” he asked.
“I’m George Michael!” said I, pointing to his face I was wearing.
The fun continued at a fast pace. Following months and weeks of careful and exciting planning, 22 of my friends were assisting with celebrating my hen day and evening.
After sucking on a rather fowl garlic sweet (another forfeit from Caron and pay back for the garlic sweet I forced her to eat during her hen do), opening lots of fab and thoughtful pressies, and scoffing cheese and sipping Cava, part 2 of the event unfolded.
We'd finished laughing ourselves silly over guessing and unravelling tales of the unknown, and some known but forgotten and glad to be reminded of!
Part 2 was cocktails and a three course meal at a rather glamorous burlesque club. There was seductive singing, a penny farthing performer, a big band, and chocolate and cherries. What more could a girl ask for?
Apart from goody bags containing make-up, black satin gloves, a sparkling tiara, and a feather boa. And posing, for lots and lots of photographs with all my brilliant friends. My fabulous friends who literally gave me one of the best days and evenings of my life.
Especially one special friend and my future bridesmaid. Caron was the brain box behind the ‘I once…’ game, amongst many, many other delightful things.
Sometimes someone comes into your life and you just know it was meant to be. True friendship is a magical and blissful blessing.
Who else would think to buy me a George Michael mask? Someone who knows me very well, a friend who knows exactly what makes me tick, and has been there for me through thick and thin during this unpredictable, often strange, but truly unforgettable life of mine.
And let’s not forget, I also have a friend who once got her head stuck in a cat flap.
You gotta have Faith!