"Matt will be telling David tonight, but I wanted to be the one to tell you" Lydia said as she helped me scrape gunk off the bottom of my saucepan as the others drunkenly set the table in the other room. "You've always been there for me, since, well y'know, the stuff with Mike and.....and......". She started welling up at this point but I'd beaten her to it. We were clinging to each other as Saskia arrived bearing the Jersey Royals we'd asked her to buy from Sainsbury's on her way in. Explanations abounded and we set about enjoying our evening. All being well (Lydia is highly superstitious about everything - "given my great age!" so everything pregnancy related was mentioned with crossed fingers) the baby will be here at the end of October. She kept grinning all night and didn't even complain like she would normally when Junior Dog trod on her bare foot with claws that need trimming.
After the Big Announcement we moved onto nibbles: Walkers Sensations, selection of dips, olives, breadsticks, pate and crackers. Conversations included: who could have sent the cream tea, Eliza's theory that children know when you're getting ready to go out for the first time in months and scream the place down as if they're being abandoned to wild animals rather than their own father, Janey's stretchmarks and the wonders of Bio Oil, how David will take the Big News, how many pints Darren had drunk as at 7.25pm, Saskia's row with Arrogant Snotty Nosed Passenger and her plans to move closer to Gatwick. "Gatwick? What, the airport?" said Janey.
The main course: roast chicken, the second batch of new potatoes (cooked to perfection), salad and six garlic baguettes courtesy of Marjorie. Conversations included: Frank and his quest for Viagra, Bea's attempts at seducing Stephen in the hope that he'd change the holiday plans from the Maldives to St Lucia (my sister was quite tipsy at this stage, hair all over the place and cackling like a loon), shopping trips "For The Baby, sssh, not yet obviously, wait until nearer the time", a phone call from David whooping "I'm going to be a Grandad!" followed closely by "Oh shit, I feel old now!" and how Charlie has fallen in love - with the Clarins skin care range.
Dessert was Mixed Berry Pavlova with Pomegranate seeds and white chocolate chips (courtesy of Lydia who says she could eat chocolate with "everything at the moment". Conversations centred on Rapidly Shrinking Au Pair (formerly known as Enormous Au Pair) and how she is spending all of her wages on perfume, "flimsy under garments" and hair care products. "That woman is a walking Boots shop" Bea complained but admitted that it's better to have a primped and preened au pair than a gorging greedy one. "The only problem is, she's not interested in young men of our kind, she's intent on bringing in ones from Streatham, Clapham and, oh my god, Balham."
Men, weddings and marriage were touched on over coffee and an update from everyone round the table. I reported that things were fine and had a little giggle that caused much "woohoo"ing! Janey is still a bit worried that Darren is still not "getting" his post pregnancy wife - "I try to be sexy and interested but, who has time for oozing sex appeal when you know next door there's a little bundle of joy oozing stuff into her nappy?" Lydia looked a bit downhearted at this but rallied when she claimed "no weddings for me". Charlie has her sights set on Gorgeous Cardiothoracic Surgeon With Audi and No Wedding Ring and is going blonder on Saturday to enthrall him. Saskia says she's surrounded by gorgeous male cabin crew at work but they are nearly all gay. "That's what they're telling you!" giggled Marjorie who revealed that she and Frank will be celebrating their 30th wedding anniversary in August - "we're having a house party, you're all invited"
Once the dishwasher was swishing and the dogs were yawning from their baskets we were all slouched in the living room. Mac appeared, beautifully sleepy, and complaining that he "kept waking up all over the place mummy". I offered to take him back to bed and read him a story but he decided against it. Looking round the room at the assorted females he made his choice. "I want Auntie Charlie to read to me" adding "from the book over on the side" over his shoulder as he went back up the stairs. Charlie duly collected the book and disappeared for an hour.
A lovely night all round, with lots of laughter, good news and marvellous company - there was talk of making it a regular thing. "The thing is, when you're a granny, you do need time for yourself every now and again" David sighed as he lowered himself down on the sofa - and was asleep within minutes. He'll be a top notch Grandpa at this rate.