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Cougars go wild in Somerset: Part 1


“You should have turned right back there! I said, right! That’s what I said! Why doesn’t anyone ever listen to me?! I know these roads and Kim doesn’t! Why does everyone always listen to her and not me?! Now we’re on our way to Glastonbury and we’ll hit traffic soon!”

I pouted, rolled my eyes, sighed theatrically and slumped back down in the seat glaring up at the rear-view mirror, knowing full-well Andrea would see my sullen gaze as she looked back to see if Kim was still alive.

It was May, and ‘the cougars’ had taken off for a weekend in deepest, darkest Somerset. Well, to be fair, the forecast was sunshine and there was a Waitrose half an hour from the rural cottage we had booked, but still, four women leaving the comforts of their own homes and en-suite bathrooms for a weekend in another county was as adventurous as it got term-time in early summer.

Oh, and don’t be fooled by ‘cougars.’ It was a self-styled, self-mocking noun jokingly used to refer to ourselves as a group. We were, in fact, the antithesis of the perfectly styled, botoxed ‘cougars’ used to refer to women who preyed on young men. I, myself, own more pairs of wellies than I do high heels, and as my hairdresser will attest, getting me to make an appointment to get my roots done is on par with getting Donald Trump to confess his addiction to dodgy spray tans…

“Kim is using google maps on her phone and not the ancient art of guesswork minus logic, Purbeck. That’s why we listen to her, and not you.”

Andrea had a point, but at least my method didn’t rely on a 4G signal, which was distinctly lacking in the sticks.

“It’s worse than having 2 kids in the back squabbling. Someone give her some Haribo to shut her up until we get there.” I bit my tongue and forgave Lisa her harsh words. She got travel sick and to be fair, Andrea’s driving was enough to make The Stig pale at times.

As if on cue, the car swung into a U-turn sending bags of sweets flying and causing us all to let out little squeals.

“Fucks’ sake,” hissed an irritated Andrea. “I thought you wanted me to turn around?”

Kim and I glanced at each other; our minor spat dissipated with the mutual desire to stay alive. North Perrot here we come!

One hour, 2 bags of Maltesters, 3 more minor route disagreements and a desperate pee stop by a verge later, we arrived at Lodge Cottage. Unloading our weekend bags, and emptying our supplies of booze and chocolate onto the kitchen table, Lisa uncorked a bottle of wine and searched for wine glasses. Kim called from a bedroom and we all trundled up the wooden staircase, shiraz in hand, to see what was up.

“This bed looks tiny. Is this my bed?" A perplexed Kim stood surveying one of the single beds in the twin room she was sharing with Lisa. Andrea and I looked at each other. Ahh, yes, we’d forgotten to mention that we’d got the cottage for a good price as one of the single beds was only a child’s size, and we’d had to convince the owner that one of our party was…well…child sized.

“You’ll be fine. You’re only small anyway.” I took a swig of vino, trying not to snigger.

“At least you get your own bed. I have to bump bums with Purbeck,” Andrea reasoned.

“This is not an adult sized bed. This is a child’s size bed.” Kim carefully surmised, continuing to look at the bed with suspicion. Admittedly, when stood next to the toddler bed, she did look bigger than we convinced ourselves when making the booking. Maybe she had put on weight. That was hardly our fault.

“Well, never mind!” A perky Andrea tried that time-honoured approach with troublesome children and went in for the distraction technique. “We won’t be doing much sleeping anyway. Let’s hit the pub and get fucked up. It’s only a 15 minute walk from here.”

As Andrea and I trundled back downstairs barely concealing our giggles, we could still hear Kim and Lisa in the bedroom.

“Shall we change beds tomorrow night to make it fair? You’ve got a normal sized bed, Lisa.”

“Not fucking likely! That’s a toddler bed, Kim! I didn’t come away to sleep in a toddler bed.”

From downstairs, Andrea and I almost sprayed shiraz across the kitchen as we could contain our mirth no longer. She’ll be fine, we reassured ourselves. We’ll make sure she’s too drunk to notice or care about the fact her feet will be sticking out the end, or if she rolls over she’ll fall flat on the floor – although it wasn’t far to fall as the bed was literally 5 inches from the ground. Toddlers don’t bounce, and nor did Kim after a few mojitos. The toddler bed was a fortuitous intervention and she’d be grateful to us in the long run.

Anyway, for now the pub beckoned and if there’s anything to get a girl excited, it’s a village pub on a Friday night in Somerset...

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