We are in our twelfth year with Kevin now. Yet it seems like only yesterday that we were convening for the first time, figuring out whether we actually liked one another, discussing what books we were reading and what we enjoyed in good narrative, and - most importantly - stating that we would "only do cheese and biscuits and maybe some fruit" to accompany our meetings henceforth.
Hah. Well, that last one certainly went out the window quickly as soft drinks were rapidly replaced with margarita cocktails (courtesy the Doctor of Psychology's exotic husband), the nibbles with ever more flamboyant appetisers (from the Wine Writer), and any paltry biscuit with a slice of cheddar gave way to casseroles, coq-au-vin and fabulous fish pies.
And wine. Goes without saying.
Anyway, after our recent bouts of amnesia, we managed to meet up again for our first get together of 2012.
All present bar the Wine Writer who was skiing. Tsk. The things people do to avoid reading a book.
The overriding question - after covering very important topics such as holidays, worst Xmas presents, family updates, TV shows, actors to whom we have suddenly taken a fancy, and other matters - was who had read both books. Or indeed, either of them. Or even one of them.
No surprises that everyone had managed the thinner of the two. Enjoyable, easy read, contentious and yet different because of its subject matter. It got the thumbs up.
As to the other, some discrepancy of opinion. The Lovely Radiographer thought it was brilliant. The Botanical Artist had stopped reading it because it was giving her nightmares. Yours Truly expressed dissatisfaction that although she was a third of the way through it, she was still none the wiser as to what the devil was going on, with the story veering from the Middle Ages to current day and then back again with no enlightenment, just lots of descriptive narrative about the countryside in Languedoc, flowing robes, peculiar insignia and women who were very strong characters but kept getting bopped on the head and passing out.
I am still trying to finish it.
"Plus I have a bad back," I intoned.
"Again?" they replied in chorus (I did preface that we have been going for some time now, so this is a regular occurrence in Kevin's books - no pun intended).
And I regaled them with my mission for 2012. Everyone was in agreement. Bad backs and poor quality beds make for a very grumpy Kevinette.
"I have contacted the owner of the place we are due to stay in July this year," I continued, "to ascertain the standard of their beds beforehand, just in case."
"Forewarned is forearmed?" queried the Aussie Solicitor (a seasoned lawyer talking there).
I nodded. "Or at least prepared for more visits to my osteopath."
I should not have fretted. Into my inbox suddenly pinged the following message:
There are two things you should not skimp on in life: shoes and beds. If you are not in one, you are in the other. Rest assured the quality of the beds in the holiday let are very good. I hope your back recovers soon.
Now if I were fully fit again I would have danced around the room, punched the air, kissed all the Kevinettes and shouted hallelujah.
However, until then, I shall refrain from vigorous exercise and persist in finishing that damn book.