If you had 3 nights of child free abandon with your oldest friends (they aren't crinkly, they have just been my friends for a long time) what would you do? A spa break sipping cocktails around a pool, a city break cutting some dodgy shapes in a Reflex that smells of feet and regurgitated Reef? Perhaps a spot of shopping and a pedicure?
Well we decided to drag our arses across Dorset in the freezing cold, flooding beautiful scenic points with our foul mouths to stand in the shitting rain having our pictures taken with funny road signs.
We my friends, know how to roll.
It all began weeks before the event. We couldn't plan enough!! Day dreaming of how magical it would be:
I can't wait to not have to count down from 4-7pm when the kids are at their most assholeish
I can't wait to eat crap all weekend
I can't wait to wake up at 6am and then just roll over without a care in the world.
Mostly I can't wait to eat the pork rolls and the extra pork fat we've ordered from the butcher.......
'do you think he'll give us enough fat? I've ordered pork for 7 people, should we order for more as we know what we're like. The pork will need to cook for 7 hours to capitalise on the moisture vs an hour for the fat to make the best crackling. Do you think we should get more fat? We don't want to not have enough pork fat. pork pork pork fat fat fat!!!!!'
Now I don't need to highlight that we are women that like our food.
It's important that you know we had a 3 carboots full of food. Pre cooked tagines, home made sticky toffee pudding, a plethora of crisps and nuts (the fallout from Christmas) and enough sweets to send all 7 of us into a diabetic coma. (That should be 8 but Tara couldn't get the time off work - fudge da poleece) Not to mention an online shop arriving later and various restaurant and cake outings planned for the weekend. Yes. We like to eat.
So we all bundle into cars at 9am sharp on Friday morning. I have Ally's Dragon 'Toothless' riding shotgun with me. No one is late, everyone has everything as we've been packed for 300 years. There are literally skid marks outside all our homes and the kids can be heard in the distance "bye muuuuhhhhh"...oh well can't hear. GO!
We arrive at the farmers market for breakfast (obviously - sorry I can't bring myself to write 'obvs') all excited, the dreams of food now unfolding in front of us. We que at the Baine Marie salivating at the thought of a farmers sausage in our mouths. (Oi oi) I look at the chief organiser Lucy, as the colour starts to drain from her face. Oh no, what is wrong with her? She's heavily pregnant so maybe her waters are leaking, maybe she's realised she's left the oven on, maybe she's forgotten to drop a sprog at nursery.... I'm concerned. I flex a non existent chemo-brow at her as if to ask 'what on earth is wrong' as she declares "Oh shit!!! I forgot the fucking Pork!!!"
Noooooooooooooooooo. One job. ONE JOB!
Not the pork!!!! The ripple effect of realisation can be seen across the faces of all my friends. You can literally hear their hearts sinking.
'That's just great. GREAT! What the fuck are we going to eat now' ....just as a huge breakfast gets passed across the serving hatch.
Anyway, I promise I won't go into so much detail again but you get the gist. We like food. So while we were shoving sausage in our mouths, everyone is quietly gooling to find the nearest place we can buy pork and pork fat.
We set off again, bought some car sweets and stopped off for our fat. The conversation started again about whether we had enough fat.
We then drove to the middle of nowhere and all jumped out to stare at a large field with a penis in. This penis appeared inappropriately erect to me but to be fair it can't be easy to draw a 2D penis into grass. We were disappointed to learn that the large man also know as the Cerne Abbas Giant has now been fenced off as the great British public spent so much time having selfies with the penis that the paint wore off.
Gemma tries for 5 minutes to get a photo trick of her being tea-bagged by the Giant. The old lady walking her dog was unamused.
We were happy to have a group shot from afar....
We then made our way to Piddle Lane and jumped out to have our picture taken at which point half of us were nearly wiped out by a Argos Lorry. Ahhhhhh memories.
Next it was onto Shitterton. I shit you not. It's real. This poor town has had so many signs nicked over the years, the locals clubbed together to have a proper stone one made. It's a shame really as I was so looking forward to putting that sign on the bathroom door.
Yes I can steal stuff because I've got Cancer.
After Shitterton, Anna grew concerned that we hadn't eaten for 3 hours and that we should head to the house rental. It was in Portland, and it was perfect. It had a kitchen, a sofa and wine glasses, and it was opposite a tea room. BOOM. We were straight in that tearoom and I was straight to the bog for poo-Nado 8 of the day (chemo ass) and not wanting me to miss out on cake, the girls came into the toilet to take my order without so much as batting an eyelid. True friendship.
So we smashed afternoon tea and then went home to get the tagine on. The crisps came out and then we played home made quizzes featuring the horrors of our friendship. You should try this....make up your own quiz ie 'who was fingerblasted in the store room at Redcliffe bay hall in year 8?' (FYI not me!) so funny.
The weekend consisted of eating, rehashing old gossip, gasping at the new, and talking about the meaning of life.
Most importantly we played cards against humanity. (It wasn't at all awkward when one question was answered with 'Jade Goodys cancerous corpse'. ) And let me tell you the farting that took place was beyond comprehension!!!!!!!
I know men like to imagine female sleepovers as ladies clad in white cotton underwear, playfully bashing each other with pillows but what unfolded here was women clad in mismatching joggers and hoodies, whafting farts with pillows. Total bliss.
On the last day for the majority, we went to 'Broadchurch' or Bridport. This was the town where a young man named Daniel Latimer met his demise. This is important as I feel we owe the poor residents of Bridport an apology. Those nutty women you heard for about 3 hours a few weeks ago constantly repeating 'Danny Lat-er-mur' in the broadest of Dorset accents, were my friends.
Yes it was hysterical every single time someone said it, yes we laughed just as loud each time and yes we are in our 30s but fuck me it was so funny!!!
I guess you had to be there mind!!! Danny Lat-er-mur.
So after we stuffed a freezing cold icecream into our faces in what felt like a -10 degree wind, most of the girls left. Myself and my friend Vic remained. Vic is quite a deep thinker and from there came the deep conversations.
'Are we arrogant enough to believe that we are the only planet in the infinity of space that contains life?'
'So subsequently if we don't know, then we can't dismiss it?'
Which is how I look at heaven and the question of 'what happens when you die?'
I go to this place often because I absolutely refuse to believe that I will never see my daughter again.
With this conversation inevitably comes the tears and the never ending guilt. The guilt because I miss her so much and I should be approaching my due date. I should have kept her inside.
It was that night that I read about Natalia Spencer and her 'Walk of Love'.
Natalia is walking around our entire coastline to raise money for The Grand Appeal which assists Bristol Children's Hospital. This walk is in memory of her beautiful daughter Elizabeth Spencer who died the day before Ally was born.
Upon reading the article it dawned on me that she was here in Weymouth and had literally stood in the same spot as us the day before.
I needed to meet her, walk with her, talk with her. So I messaged and it was arranged.
The next day was another emotional one. Natalias daughter Elizabeth was 5 years old when she died from a very rare condition. Natalia was renting a house of which she moved out of a week after she lost her daughter and was now just walking. And when I say just walking, I mean that in the purest sense. She is literally just walking but walking has taken on a whole new meaning. As a mother grieving the loss of a child, the darkness is all consuming. It leaves you incomplete and you know you'll never fully heal. I've said before that just breathing becomes effort full.
Natalia is literally and metaphorically putting one foot in front of the other. She has simplified life to putting one foot in front of the other because sometimes that's all you can do. She will just keep walking as others will just keep swimming.
You have to navigate life the only way you can. You just do it. You just keep going in the hope that one day you'll laugh again, one day you'll look at pictures of the ones you've lost and smile and one day you may get back to being a little bit like your old self. One day.
But for now, you make plans and you surround yourself with the people that mean the most to you.... Your friends and your family. And you live.
After all, that's what's important and really what else can you do?