Now those of you who know me know that I don't go away from the girls. I've had two individual nights away in eight years. So a weekend hen do to Palma was always going to be a challenge for me. It seemed like such a good idea at the time I said yes. The opportunity to get away in the sunshine with lovely people and have fun. Then as it got closer I have to say I was wondering how I would cope. It seemed too self indulgent and too wrenching all at the same time.
What it turned out to be was flipping brilliant. And crikey did it have it's moments. It's a play waiting to be written.
I somewhat foolishly started a new exercise class the night before we left. I am extremely unfit, and the exercise class was extremely hard. As a consequence, seven hours later when I was sitting in the back of Emma's car driving over Snake Pass in the dark my thighs did not really appreciate the route we had chosen. Every right and left bend was a challenge. I made it very clear then and there that I would be doing no running of any sort in the next few days.
We got to security and Jo dropped her boarding card down the machine rollers. It took quite some "excuse me"ing and a man with a grabby stick to solve that problem. But then things stopped being quite so funny. Three of our party had their hand luggage messed about with at security to such an extent that they didn't make it through in time for the plane. It was ironic really since we looked the least threatening of any hen or stag do in the queue due to a complete lack of sashes, "amusing t-shirts" and drunk party members. To say the girls were frustrated and upset is somewhat of an understatement. I can't imagine what it would have been like.
Meanwhile Valda and I were running through the airport like something possessed. I didn't even have time to consider the irony of my running related comments in the car. I seriously thought we could maybe hold the plane or something, like we were V.I.P.s. We couldn't. It took off.
Emma had made it to the plane first and had been sitting there was a few minutes wondering if she was going on her own to Palma. She was the only passenger to audibly cheer when we got on. The rest tutted and raised their eyes skywards.
The three of us felt so terrible. It shouldn't have been us on the plane. It should have been all of us, but most importantly it should have been Abby. A hen do without her? Well it wouldn't be a hen do.
Of course it didn't help that I hadn't mentally actually registered any of the information required to go on holiday, like what the hotel was called and where it was. Thankfully Valda and Emma had more of a clue than me and we felt sure we could find the hotel since we had half the name of of the hotel and knew it was "on the main drag". So we bravely got on a bus. (Valda is thankfully very good at this stuff. If it had been me I'd have been in a right tizz.)
The bus driver decided he didn't speak English. Apart from the number '2'. This and his gesticulation that this was the right bus to be on gave us bags of confidence.
We got on and immediately got separated by a large number of people. I was a little concerned but fortunately had sat next to a Palma experienced English woman who I proceeded to regale with tales of us having lost half our party already. Fortunately she could help and we got off at the right stop having probably made her day with stories to tell for the whole weekend to come.
And then we waited. We ate something and sat by the pool. The others took lots of clothes off and moved their sunloungers to make sure the sun continued to shine on them. I simultaneously moved mine into the shade. You've got to love being ginger.
Jane arrived and we chatted and waited some more. Finally Abby, Jo and Nic arrived and everyone felt a sense of relief since it was the point of the whole weekend. And no-one would want a hen do in Manchester airport.
We drank wine. We accidentally ordered tequila for the hen, which we all saw again quite quickly after. Then we had a lovely dinner and met up with the last of our party Nicky who had flown from another airport, with whom I share a mutual respect for the Archers. There was food, too much booze and lots of laughs. The hen weekend had really begun.