It was Friday night Saturday morning, and we were in full throttle. Wooden spoons for microphones, handbags on the floor for something to dance around ("it won't be a proper disco if we don't have our handbags in the middle!" Sarah had decided a few tracks earlier) all of us gyrating and singing along to Culture Club's hypnotic "Do you Really Want to Hurt Me?" the song and the music still as beguiling as it was the first time Boy George appeared on Top of The Pops.
We had all been transported back to the 80's discotheques of our youth - Suffolk for Vera, Manchester for Sarah and Eastbourne for me. We all had our favourite and quite different haunts, but the shared memories took us all to our younger days, and made our bond even stronger. Learned at different locations, we had also clearly all picked up the same dodgy dance moves as well.
We all met in France, having left the UK at various points in our lives. Vera, the youngest of the three of us, has been here since she was 18. Having come to France as an aupair, she fell in love with the boy next door and has been here ever since. Many years and two gorgeous children later, she still absolutely adores life here and is one of my "chosen" sisters. You know what I mean? People who come in to your life and you just instinctively feel that they're family.
Sarah, a year younger than me, spent 12 years here before packing up again and moving to Dubai with her husband and two children. We were already best friends before they left, and over the four years that they've been gone, our friendship has grown ever stronger. Various unforseen circumstances has meant that this is the third time I've seen Sarah this year. Another "chosen" sister, she and the kids had arrived chez-moi just one day earlier, so we'd decided that Friday night was to be a wild celebration of sisterhood!
The evening had gone well. All the children (hmmm... hormonal teenagers in actual fact, who grunt and lope around quite clearly embarrassed by their mothers!) had already started their own party while we finished off our meal in the kitchen. It was well past midnight before we finished the main course, and we'd moved out to the back terrace to enjoy the evening and a couple of vodka shots, brought over from Dubai.
We decided some time later that our other chosen sister, Sharon, should also be included in our party, so we hit upon the idea to call her so she could join in the festivities. Not, as it turned out, the best idea. She and her husband were both fast asleep, but, with typical grace and good humour she quickly got in to the groove with us. "It's so much harder to say she said than I said!" trilled Vera down the telephone, with Sarah and I cackling in the background! This all made perfect sense to us, of course, and Sharon simply commented that she was glad she could enjoy the humour without the headache in the morning.... it was an omen.
Shrieking with laughter and boosted by our ever-strengthening sisterhood bonding (and the Russian vodka) we made the fateful decision to start the disco.
Never a very confident dancer, but bouyed up with exuberance, I found myself throwing inhibitions out of the window and joined in with the ever increasing gyrations. I had just completed a rather impressive "how low can you go" routine with Sarah's very beautiful 15 year old daughter (I did pretty well actually.... considering!) when we decided to return once again to Culture Club.
I cheered loudly as "I'll tumble for ya" started to play and the memories flooded in - another omen. Half way through one of my more enthusiastic moves, my knee twisted in a way that nature never intended, and I fell straight to the floor in surprise and agony. I'm one of those lucky people who have never had an accident and am rarely ill. So when my body suddenly disobeyed my instructions, I was absolutley dumbfounded - and scared.
The past few months have left me feeling out of control as, on a daily basis, I continue to deal with the never ending nightmare that has been left for me to clear up. And now, with my knee severely damaged, I cannot even rely on my usually strong body to carry me forward.
I'm helpless and now totally in the hands of others until my knee heals. Nothing done by half, it appears I have torn my cruciate ligament. Weeks in a brace, followed by 20 physio sessions before I can have an MRI scan and then, likely, an operation to mend the damage. Then even longer to heal.
Done in a fraction of a second, the twisting of my knee joint has caused me to adapt my approach even further. Just when I thought I was getting used to the challenges, and that I was finally getting stronger again, I'm having to change my mind once more and learn a whole new coping strategy.
Fiercely independent since childhood, I've always prided myself on my ability to look after myself as well as others.
Now this, for the time being, seems to have gone as well. I am absolutely in surrender, and faith is now my crutch. I'm surrounded by great friends and a huge wave of support. But there is nothing more I can do for myself. My plans to secure work in September are now scuppered, and I simply don't know how I'm going to make ends meet.
Over just a few weeks everything has changed - I've lost my husband, my business, my 'reality' and now my physical independence. I'm wondering now just how much lower I'll need to go before I can start to rebuild. The way things are going, I may well need to consider selling my beautiful home, as I just don't know where the money is going to come from now. My internal entertainment system constantly on play, Gnarls Barkley is now moving ominously closer with his frighteningly accurate musings "I think you're crazy"...
And yet, in some very strange and quiet way, I feel safe. I feel secure. And I know that things are working behind the scenes.
This is what I'm holding on to, this is what's keeping me going and, as I look in to the faces of my wonderful friends, and I feel the love that's supporting me, I just know that somehow I'm OK. For the first time in my life, I truly have reached surrender and I know that in one way or another, I can trust life to throw me the lifeline I've been searching for since childhood.