It’s fifteen minutes past the midnight hour.
I’m waiting up to sing Happy Birthday to my girlfriend in New York.
Pammie is sitting down, with 15 friends, at 7pm in Brooklyn. I should have been at the table but this weekend was critical for both of us, me for the new job and she for reaching half a century.
I’ve sent her gifts.
When I was 50 I had nine women round my table in the cottage, each one from a special point in my life.
B and her friend Jessie waitressed whilst my friend Annie cooked. I asked for a 7 course meal all the colours of the rainbow. We had indigo potates if you please.
My women travelled from all parts of the Globe, Pammie flew in from New York with a huge black case on wheels.
After the first bottle of champagne I allowed everybody three complaints they could share with the rest of us.
Between the nine of us we covered, varicose veins, M.E., lower back pain, tennis elbow, writers block and piles.
We laughed so much that by the third bottle of bubbly my guest from Devon could hardly contain her incontinence.

Pammie took beautiful black and white photographs of the evening, me with each one of my women.
I have known Pammie for 32 years, not only is she a photographer but she is a fine mother, a talented writer, a fearsome editor and a loyal friend.
She brought me a present for each one of my senses.
‘The Beuna Vista Social Club’ for my ears.
A red velvet scarf for my fingers to feel.
Smelly things, tasty things all lovingly wrapped and presented at the big table.
Jane, from Shropshire, gave me a cupboard she made from found bits of wood and old piano parts. She was just starting out now she’s a very succesful artist with collectors collecting her work.
Mandy and Romy discovered they had lived in the same flat in Hampstead within 18 months of each other – spooky.
Mandy and Linda had been at the same school and had played Jane in lacrosse tournaments.
Polly and Romy had played in the same production of ‘King Lear’.
As the synchronicity unfolded it was clear that whilst I was the common denominator all 9 of us had dipped into each others lives in some way.
I had no sleep that night the conversation was too good, the company too sweet.
Jim was working in Sweden so we stood the telephone in the middle of the table and had him talk on speaker phone. His voice travelled through the snowy forests of Uppsala right into the sitting room in Sussex.
We all had breakfast in the garden and B played her cello.
That was then, this is now and B would be playing drum and bass whilst all nine of us would be shouting over her beats.
Instead of flying out to NY,NY, I’ve hoovered up thirteen tons of pine needles, put all the Christmas lights in special boxes, stacked the cards for the charity shop, eaten the very last mince pie, walked the dog, ironed the last guest towel and organised the rest of January so that Jim can start his new job and I can start mine.
When I think about my new direction I get all hot under the bust – sorry collar.
As my old man keeps saying be careful what you ask for as you may just get it.
I did this time.
So whilst Pammie is blissfully recovering from her Fiftieth I’ll be talking de-toxing from 3-5 tomorrow, perhaps you’ll join me?
I’m off now to call America and raise a glass to Pammie 5,000 miles away. Ah! the wonders of alcohol – or should I say technology?

1 thought on “RSVP”

  1. Good luck for tomorrow Jenny. I only wish I could listen in too. I do hope you also have an opportunity to return to TV and a wider audience, that still miss your antics, love for life, fun and food. Hope that makes you feel good! Still missed!

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