Who doesn't love the festive season? Catching up with friends and family while enjoying chocolate, champagne and gorgeous food is always a treat.
On Monday night I went out with my writing group for our annual, end of year, cocktails and dessert night. Except this year we had dinner with our drinks, not just dessert. My hips took a hit with roast salmon followed by French meringues and cream. Yeah, okay, when you do something, do it well. Did I mention the talking? We're women, probably didn't need to, but boy, are we good at it. It's so much fun.
These are the people who laugh at my ridiculous goals, drink bubbles with me to celebrate my successes, and make me toughen up on the numerous occasions when things don't work out.
In short, these women are very important to me, and I treasure their company, wisdom and friendship.
This time last year there were seven in this amazing group.
Now there are four.
Four who still meet up, that is.
Yes, there's Lovecat Barbara DeLeo in front of me, along with Nadine Taylor (our newest member), and Iona Jones.
For those who have abandoned us - or so they think - the internet makes sure none of them are that far away, even Deborah who has headed to Canada. We keep everyone in the loop and know what's happening in their writing careers. We can still cheer each other up or give stick when it's needed.
We have another member who has never lived in our town, let alone the South Island. Our phantom member - Lovecat, Louisa George, who manages to get a word in occasionally via texts or Skype.
There is a downside to this little celebration. Iona loves to crack the whip and in January she has us putting our writing goals for the year on paper which she then hides away. None of us keep a copy, and I know I never remember what I wrote down. Just when we're getting settled with our drinks firmly in hand and the laughter growing louder Iona brings out these pieces of paper. Yes, right. Such a spoilsport. Just as well we're well and truly into those glasses by then. The laughter gets even louder, and the eye rolling can be frantic. But it's always quite surprising how many of those goals all of us have met. Which has to be celebrated in the customary way, of course.
And now it's back to facing another year of tapping the keyboard and dreaming of outrageous success. Oh, and thinking up some achievable goals to put down on another scrap of paper to have a darned good laugh over next December.
Do you belong to a group that's super special to you? One that supports you in your endeavours?