The A team

“Another glass?” I asked Shona.

“Would be rude not to” she laughed, passing me her empty wine glass.

We were both sitting in my burnt out garden on a very hot and sunny afternoon in August. The heat wave we had endured since June was still thriving, and neither Shona or I had work for a whole week.

” Here you go” I said passing her a full glass of wine and together we raised our glasses.

” Here is to 20 years of a truly beautiful friendship…or rather sistership”

“And I look forward to many more” Shona replied as we clinked our glasses together in celebration.

“Do you fancy a girlie weekend away for my 44th birthday?” Shona asked with a sly grin on her face.

” Where are you thinking?” I asked as I sat down on my chair.

“Barcelona” She replied

Now, I am not one to waste wine, however, in shock, I did spurt out my mouthful of wine all over my brand new glass table that was bought with my “wish list” patio chairs.

“Barcelona! I thought you was going to say something local like Brighton!”

“Nah! I was chatting to Bindya and Rupy yesterday and they are up for it”

I have had the pleasure of knowing Shona for 20 years of my adult life and Shona is one year younger than me. However, Shona and Bindya went to school together since they were 9 years old and they have a lot more history in their friendship. However, over the years, I have met Bindya at Shona’s family celebrations and more recently at a very impromptu Hen party. (Me, Shona and Bindya took one of Shona’s work colleagues out for her hen party as all her mates had let her down. Only Shona knew the poor girl! Bindya and I just went along for the ride and entertainment value. We did have one hell of a night – but that is another story).

Oh yes – and Rupy is Bindya`s slightly older sister who I have never met before.

I looked at Shona cautiously, ” What`s Rupy like? Will I get on with her? and I don`t want to be clubbing until all hours in the morning, this old body just won`t take it anymore”

” Don`t worry, we won`t. It will be more shopping and sightseeing and maybe a small boogie on my actual birthday night, and Rupy is as crazy as Bindya.”

“MMMMM” I replied dubiously, knowing what mischief me and Bindya got up to on the pre mentioned Hen Party ” Let me speak to hubby when he gets in”.

Considering that I met Shona through my husband, I was now closer to Shona than he was, I had no doubt he would be happy for me to go away with her and her girls.

“When are you thinking off going” I asked topping up our glasses.

” Well, my birthday is on the Friday, so if we leave Thursday night after we all finish work, arrive in Barcelona, and then come back Sunday evening.”

“Sounds like a plan” I grinned. I deserved a weekend away. My husband is a car fanatic and each year goes away with the lads for a fast and furious weekend in their souped up sports cars. I have 2 boys, 12 & 10 ( I know – weird names right – infact each year we have to change their names by deed poll as they get older) and now was the perfect age to be able to leave them home without “mother dearest ” hen picking them.

Hubby came home and all was agreed that I would be free to go out and have a blast with my best mate and her best mates!

“Don`t you love it when a plan comes together” Shona said, and we raised our glasses for the last time that night.

The four of us needed to make plans and of course a Whatsapp group was set up and for the next couple of months, ping ping ping was the main sound coming from my phone on a daily basis. I actually changed the ring tone for the group so I could identify it. By now I had got to know Bindya and Rupy a little better, and I asked everyone to complete a silly profile.

Name: Diana

Age: 44

Description: 4ft 10″ Brunette with short hair, English – through and through (apart from all the Indian inside of me! )

Likes: Wine, laughter, rising to the challenge & giving out nicknames

Dislikes: Clubbing & walking long distances

Work: Freelance Teacher

Family Status: Married 3 years ago to my long term indian fiance after being engaged for 20 yrs, gave birth to 2 boys …… and the rest is history!!

Name: Shona

Age: 43 (soon to be 44)

Description: 5ft 2″ Brunette – Indian but with one hell of a cockney accent due to being born in the East End.

Likes: Music, dancing, changing costumes,

Dislikes: Pork

Job: Ex-Security officer at Heathrow – now Security

Family Status: Divorced mother with to 2 boys ( 15yrs & 18 yrs however – they have names – Shona doesn`t change them by deed poll like Diana does)

Name: Bindya

Age: top secret

Description: Crazy curly haired Indian gal with a laugh that would make the olympic stadium collapse

Likes: Buying fresh food and cooking with it.. especially olives

Dislikes: Diana, you will find out!!!

Family Status: A brilliant step mum to 2 young girls, recently married (to their father – that helps! 🙂

Job: Something to do with whatever she wants to do at that time.

Name: Rupy

Age: Not quite 50

Description: A slightly older version of her sister, laugh is not quite as loud but a wicked sense of humour, almost as dry and sarcastic as Diana’s

Likes: A little amount of alcohol, looking out for her sister.

Dislikes: Smoking (so throughout this story – Rupy is not in part of the group where I say `we all smoked” etc

Family Status: to complicated! But happy at the moment as husband free.

Job: Alcohol and Drugs Advisor at local college.

With only a month to go, we booked our flights and Shona found an amazing apartment up in the mountains of Alella.

“It`s about 30 minutes away from Barcelona, is every one alright with that?” Shona typed “Have looked at apartments in Barcelona, but all are booked out.”

She sent photos of the place and it looked perfect for what we needed. Spacious, 3 bedroom apartment including a fully furnished terrace overlooking miles of glorious landscape ending at a view of the ocean.

Before we knew it, we had seven sleeps until take off. The essential questions started to fly between us (excuse the pun!)

“Is anyone taking a swimsuit or shorts?”

“Has anyone got European adapters for our electrics?”

“Shall I take my lady shaver for everyone?”

“Do we need sun cream and who is bringing the paracetamol?”

“What can we take in our hand luggage”

“How long does it take everyone to get ready in the morning?”

Shona replied to all the questions!

“I am taking a suitcase as I won`t have room in hand luggage for all my shoes, but maybe room for a swimsuit! I have packets of paracetmaol, lady shaver, definitely, I won`t need suncream, I`m Indian don`t you know! and you can all put your liquids in my case..BTW..it takes me 3 hours to get ready, that includes sipping wine and dancing a lot”

I replied “The only liquid I am bringing is a bottle of wine and I can be ready in half and hour”

“How many shoes are you taking Shona?” Rupy asked

“12 pairs, can`t decide on which ones though”

“You only have one pair of feet and 3 days out there, all you need are a pair or flip flops, some heels and a pair of trainers, as there might be some walking required” Bindya reminded Shona.

“Okay, 6 pairs then – 2 pairs for each day and also I have 6 adapters, one each for my hairdryer, straighteners, curling tongs, watch, phone and speaker. Sorted”

Two days to go and there was a slight panic when I typed that I had sorted out my Euros.

“Shit!” was the reply from all the girls “Forgot about Euros!”

One day to go and everyone declared they were packed and ready to go (including Euros & passports) and we would all meet at Heathrow, Terminal 3 for 6pm which would give us loads of time as the flight wasn`t until 8:45pm. We wished each other sweet dreams and looked forward to all seeing each other the next day…….to be continued