Tuesday, 12 February 2008

Ruffled Feathers, Lack Of Horn

It was when my Matron of Dishonour (Hen) put the sixth case of Cava in the car and we realised we didn't have room for any food that I knew my hen weekend was going to be a serious business. Let's not even mention the barrel of cider, which had already been decanted into another hen's estate car.
There had been a lot of mysterious activity going on with only the smallest hint to me (that there was activity, no clue as to what it actually was) and all I knew for sure was that we were staying in a big house near Barnstaple, vegetarian chilli was the Friday night meal and there would be sixteen of us.
The house was perfect, in a sort of residential home for the elderly sort of way. I think we counted six different floral patterns in the lounge, which had a number of not-quite-matching three-piece suites lining the walls. All that was missing were tartan blankets and tea served in china cups and saucers.
But it was spot on for our purposes - very cheap and clean with lots of space, plenty of bedrooms and some decent-sized areas for communual mischief-making. We had pedalled the usual fib of it being a birthday party knees-up, but to be honest, I don't think they would have minded if we'd come clean about the clucking.
The first night was relatively low key, involving a mere eight people, lots of chat, several generous plates of nosh and some pretty respectable in-roads into the Cava. A highlight was when the hens (including one honorary cock hen) unexpectedly appeared in the kitchen all wearing the chosen uniform for the weekend of black matching Ts printed with a huge pair of red lips and the words "Redd to Wed" on the front. Suddenly I was the front woman of a stadium rock band on tour. It was priceless and hats off to Matron of Dishonour (clothes) who was responsible for the idea and the design.
The other memorable moment that night involved our mole at the simultaneous stag do (Theo's sister) texting me a picture of my intended wearing a bright pink "Mr Perfect" T-shirt and baggy yellow Y-fronts. Outside his trousers.
I was (rightly) chastised for the number of stag/hen textings that went back and forth, but the rest of the roost probably didn't realise the level of my anxiety and the need to be reassured my gorgeous (even in the Y-fronts, although I hope he won't make a habit of them) young man was not only still alive, but also sporting all his hair.

The next morning we checked the damage. A few minor hangovers and one nudging into more serious territory. We agreed the several bottles of sparkling water had been a wise investment and we would call for reinforcements for the coming night. Which, I had little doubt, would be more rip-roaring.
It all began fairly innocently. A leisurely walk by the estuary, a pub lunch (inconsistant, was the general view of the food, although it was a nice enough place with friendly staff and right by the water). Afternoon tea and biscuits when we got back (no china cups and saucers, I think we stuck with mugs) then the gradual arrival of more hens..first our mole from the stag do, then two of my sisters (complete with the requested extra fizzy water), then another sister and a car-load from Bristol. I volunteered to remain sober to make the trip to Barnstaple station to pick up the one remaining hen, who had travelled all the way down from Teesside.
My absence gave them the perfect opportunity to transform the old people's home aspect of the house into a veritable homage to The Phallous.
When I got back, pausing only to grab a restorative pint of cider, I was bundled into a wonderfully voluminous second-hand wedding dress, given a pair of flashing nipples to wear underneath (one of which refused to work unless someone stuck a finger directly onto it...cheap thrills), then showered with presents for use in my new life. They ranged from the genuinely useful (excellent travel toilet-bag, phrase-books, paper knickers etc.), to the possibly useful (vibrating dolphin cock-ring) to the completely ridiculous (banana-flavoured cock drops, anyone??)
But the best was yet to come. When I walked into the dining room the whole place was decorated with buttock-shaped balloons (which were supposed to be heart shapes, but looked like arses, breasts or testicles depending on the angle they were viewed from), bunting and long, pink balloons fashioned into an outrageous assortment of hats and table decorations by the creative (and filthy-minded) hens. I was shot with a nob-style confetti gun (most impressive - some of the confetti even had the individual pubic hairs drawn on) and after a most excellent curry and dal main course, presented with a cake in the shape of an enormous penis. It was a magnificent confection. And rather shockingly, made to a Delia Smith recipe. I opted for the bifocation method of cutting it up and can affirm it tasted better than most examples of the real thing (or so my other hens assured me, I am much too refined to be able to comment).
After that Dolly Parton's Mule Skinner Blues went on the stereo, the Cava (and medicinal fizzy water) flowed and we partied until every last drop of bubbly was finished. Quite how one hen managed to break her wrist during tail-feather shaking that went on, nobody knows. Even she didn't realise what had happened until later the next afternoon - the anaesthetising qualities of the sparkling wine and the couple of ibuprofen I'd insisted she take before retiring may had something to do with it.
Still, a broken wrist is a small price to pay for missing the nadir of the stag do (broken-wrist hen had been given the option to join the stags, but had turned it down) - the dreaded strippergram. I had a plaintive phone call from Theo later on, who sounded not a little traumatised by the ordeal at the hands (and other body parts) of the two Paignton strippers (paint-strippers). Hats off to the doe-stags who took those responsible for ordering them well and truly to task. Thankfully, all the male members surrounding me during the cluck fest were artificial (well, apart from one, but his remained safely in his trousers), for which I am truly grateful.
But it was a great weekend, mainly because it was so fantastic to party with friends and family (boy, those babymamas can really let their hair down when they get the chance...) and I was so thoroughly spoiled by them all.
Now, I'm looking forward to future partying with Theo beside me. Or in other positions. We're still trying to work out how best to employ my new dolphin cock-ring.
Thanks hens, truly you are wonderful cluckers.

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