Balls, Bears and Buff Boys

Picture the scene: It’s Smithlaa’s hen night and we’re having dinner in a Chinese buffet that looks like a tiki lounge crossed with an American diner with a spot of school canteen thrown in for good measure. There is a sushi chef beavering away in the corner and the tepanyaki guy keeps trying to burn the building down and setting the fire alarm off, the atmosphere is upbeat and it’s pretty noisy, understandable given it’s a Friday night in the centre of town.
Off I pop to pee in an attempt to clear some space before attacking the dessert table and after a moment of cooing over the sparkly sinks I nip into a cubicle to do whizzy winkles. The door swings open and I hear two women clatter in and dump their handbags by the sinks,

“S’abit weird here innit” slurred one,
“Why?” Hiccupped the other,
“It’s like a concentration camp”…. they fell silent, no doubt contemplating the similarities between Auschwitz and this, a Chinese buffet restaurant in Sussex. I thought that was the end to it when suddenly one by one they let out the biggest lung flappingly massive belches I’ve ever heard.

Pleased with their belching prowess they both began to giggle with one exclaiming
“I’m so glad there’s nobody else in here” before screeching with laughter. I waited until the laughter subsided a little, torn between bursting out of the cubicle and proclaiming ‘HEEEEEREEEE’S ALLY’ or sitting there on the loo until they did their dirty business and left. Keen to get back to the girls I burst out of the cubicle making them scream in fright and then recoil in horror as the reality that I had heard the hellbeasts be unleashed from their stomachs.

After dinner we accompanied the blushing bride to meet some other hens at the pub down the road and ended up going to a bar I used to know as ‘The Chapel’ for a bit of a boogie. It was here that the fun started when this guy who was absolutely blotto took a shine to the Mother of the chief bridesmaid and kept trying to grind on her, much to the hilarity of her daughter and the bride herself. He was happy and harmless but absolutely determined that he should be able to get near Mumma Maid for a dance. I was laughing so hard that I thought I was going to have an asthma attack and I don’t even have asthma. I never thought I would see a daughter cockblocking someone from trying to get near her own mother. I’ve ended up with loads of photos of the girls looking gorgeously bemused at the big drunken moonface photobombing every picture. I had a wicked night with the girls and it was really good to be able to meet some of them before the wedding of the year. Saturday dawned bright and early and feeling distinctly ropey even though I’d driven the night before I loaded up my chariot and headed for Goodwood. Yes folks, it was the weekend we’d all been waiting for – the Miracles Ball.

I checked in and after going to my room and bouncing on my bed whilst drinking a pre-mixed Pimms I slipped into my cossie and headed for the pool, first stop the Jacuzzi. It was bloody blissful as I had it to myself until horror of horrors this absolute FITTIE came and joined me, at which point I realised I was stuck and in severe danger of being boiled alive. Fittie McFitface was chatty and friendly but couldn’t take his eyes off my boobicles which if I’m honest was nice to be quite so blatantly ogled and flirted with but meant that I couldn’t get out of the bubbles for fear of showing him my wobbly thighs and fat tummy. Instead I sat there wondering how much damage I was doing to my internal organs by being stuck in what is essentially a giant saucepan whilst trying to flirt back. Eventually Fittie left so I gratefully hopped out of the tub and dived in headfirst – alright waddled over and plopped in off the side – into the pool to cool down. After a bit of a swim – alright a bob about – I had a shower, threw on my dressing gown and walked back to my room where the scream that I let out when I saw my reflection could have been heard in Hampshire. My face was BRIGHT RED and the combination of chlorine and a perfunctory rub with a towel meant that my hair was stuck up at the back as if I’d stuck my fingers in an electric socket. Fan-fucking-tastic!

After a couple of mini stresses about my outfit it was time to crack open the bubbly and head for the House all gussied up. The butterflies were fluttering hard as we pulled up the driveway and Goodwood House loomed into view, but as soon as a waitress pressed a flute of champagne into my hand I started to relax. Apart from my feet that is, which were already giving me grief as soon as I stepped out of the hotel. I should have had the foresight to realise that wearing 4.5” heels that you’ve not had a chance to break in was utter madness but sadly I didn’t and so as soon as was humanly possible I kicked off my heels under the table and with a huge sigh of relief slipped into a pair of flats. They didn’t match my dress but at that point I didn’t give a flying fuck about sartorial elegance I just wanted to avoid ending the night in a wheelchair bleeding from the feet.

We took our seats in the ballroom and under the flickering glow of the candelabras on each table were served the most delicious meal I’ve ever eaten, to start we had tian of chilled poached lobster and smoked trout with celeriac remoulade and shellfish oil, our main course was guinea fowl with truffle gratin, seasonal vegetables and a rosemary jus and dessert was the most delicious poached Williams pears with red wine syrup and malt ice cream. Utter heaven. It was very special being able to revell in the company of my family, some dear friends and the amazing Mr Christopher Biggins who was hysterical – the perfect blend of comedy, scandal and banter – in such sumptuous surroundings. Having absolutely stuffed ourselves over dinner it was time for Biggins to strut his stuff as compere of the auction which is where it all started to go a bit Pete Tong. I think it was the wine, the party atmosphere, the overwhelming sense of pride at what my Dad and Stepmum have accomplished and oh yeah, the wine, the wine, the wine, but when Biggins held up this MASSIVE ‘Me To You’ teddy bear, slagged it off by saying you’d basically need to be mental to bid on it and then jokingly asked who’d give him £500 for it I leapt off my chair like I’d been scalded whilst waving both arms in the air. Fuck. I started praying that someone, some rich oil baron or media mogul would defend my honour and step in to outbid me but then my drunken enthusiasm overtook me and I found myself bantering with Biggins about how ‘that teddy bear is MINE’. I suppose I wanted to brazen out the fact I’d just bid a monkey for a bear. Of course I didn’t stop there did I, oh no…. Yours truly is also now the owner of a walk on part in ‘Midsomer Murders’ as well!

After pledging away a shedload of money I decided I wasn’t quite finished at inducing a heart attack in my bank manager so I went to hit up the casino buying £200 of chips for the grand total of ten English pounds. Turns out I’m quite good at playing 21 even though I was so drunk I was struggling to add up past about four and in about an hour of playing I’d turned £200 into £4700…. of monopoly money. I was still tempted to stash the notes in my handbag and take them back to the hotel with me to throw on the bed and roll around on top of like a mobster’s wife. Instead I was poured into the car and we headed back to the hotel with me cradling the world’s most expensive teddy bear like it was literally made of gold. (Which it should have been given the cost of the damn thing!) With hindsight – and yes I know it’s a bit insane – I don’t mind having spent so much money because it’s for a bloody good cause and my Dad and Stepmum work damn hard to perform ‘Miracles’ and have been doing so since 1994 without me ever giving them a penny before so averaged out it’s only about £55 a year which is nothing really, right?

Anyway there we were back at the hotel and lo and behold the fit barman from when Lornavitch and I stayed last time was serving behind the bar. *Swoon* Buoyed by booze with my boobs on display and stood at the bar next to my Dad, I decided it was the perfect time to start flirting outrageously with him although I’m not sure what I possibly thought the outcome could be. What, was I going to take him back to my room and shag his brains out whilst my parents tried to sleep next door? Err no. But boozy old me decided to ignore the rest of our party to stay talking to him, I’m just glad that everyone was munted and so nobody could hear my dire attempts at a chat up. He definitely got my vote by putting my cranberry mojitos on my Dad’s tab and before long I’d ascertained his name, age and given him my phone number…. All systems go. Except he’s twenty years old. *head desk* Still, a good bout of flirting with a randy twenty year old never did hurt anyone I reckon. (That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it!) Needless to say I felt like I’d been hit hard with a shitty stick on Sunday morning and was in danger of dying I reckon until I flopped into the jacuzzi and floated in the pool for a couple of hours. Loading up my car was a goddamn chore and I could tell that the story of the world’s most expensive teddy bear (TWMETB) had gone round the hotel like a bad dose of herpes as there were definitely some smirks as I checked out with it tucked under my arm.

It was the most amazing weekend I’ve had in a long time. Yes I spent far too much money and yes I felt like I was actually dying on Sunday morning but it was worth it without a shadow of a doubt. Roll on next year’s ball!

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