Andrea Mara

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the pink champagne gathering

It’s 9pm on a beautiful June evening and I’m typing this post sitting in my garden, drinking a cold beer (this doesn’t have a huge amount to do with the post but I am unlikely to experience this again, so I’m noting it for the record).

Last weekend we had Father’s Day, and this weekend in our house we have another family celebration coming up – our own version of The Gathering, also known as “Pink Champagne night”.

The pink champagne tradition was born when my cousin gave my sister and me a bottle of aforementioned deliciousness as a birthday present in 2009. It was one day before my second baby was due, and indeed my daughter arrived a few hours later, punctual and efficient, as she still is today. So we kept the champagne and arranged to open it with our two younger sisters when the right occasion would come along.

No particular occasion arose, so a few months later we decided to get dressed up in our finest gunas, book dinner in an actual restaurant, and start with drinks in my house, all dedicated to opening this bottle of champagne.

The evening was such a roaring success (we weren’t really roaring), we’ve since made it a quarterly event. We still get dressed up and eat out but of course we drink pink Cava, champagne days are over.

white wine - office mum
My sisters, let’s call them Rowing Girl, London Lady and Doctor D, all once lived within a few miles of me, but last year, Doctor D moved to Cork, and London Lady moved to, well, London. So pink champagne nights are harder to arrange but now more important and enjoyable than ever.

This weekend, London Lady and Doctor D are returning briefly to our childhood home and of course we’ll celebrate with a pink champagne night (you know what I mean, but “pink cava” night doesn’t have the same ring to it).

They are super sisters and super aunties – they have one god-child each among my brood (thank goodness the number of children matches the number of aunties), and are adored by the smallies.

I see traits of each of them in my kids – my five year old is scatty, as are Rowing Girl and Doctor D (I know, scary that she’s a scatty doctor), so I foresee a lifetime of lost passports and mobile phones ahead.

And my four year old looks exactly like London Lady did at the same age, and is already showing signs of needing things to be just so  – though London Lady doesn’t think she’s a person who needs things to be just so. She still thinks she’s in third place and not last, when we rate ourselves to see who is the most chilled out.

My sisters love running – early morning or late in the evening, even after a big night out. They love wine and good food – they are foodies, not “eaties”, our term for people who just think they like good food.

They love the sun and good crime fiction and Murder She Wrote.

They have a shared dislike for Horatio from CSI Miami or anyone who treats any of us badly. Such people go on the blacklist and it’s close to impossible to ever come off the black list. Like the lady who turned my parents and four small kids away from the B & B in 1988 because we were late arriving. That lady is never getting off the list…

Rowing Girl won’t wear yellow and black because it reminds her of bumble-bees. London Lady has a mortal fear of buttons that are not functional, same for zips. And Doctor D is the most indecisive person you could ever meet (again, scary that she’s a doctor).

We have long conversations about whether or not it’s OK to wear sheer tights or eat processed ham (not yet resolved). I’m looking forward to resuming this debate on Saturday over a glass of pink bubbly.

So here’s to sisters everywhere and families coming home and gatherings big and small – let the banter begin!

Footnote: this post really was written outdoors at 9 o’clock at night, in Ireland.
No blanket or gas heater or winter jacket required:

beer garden




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