Back in May, John and I skipped coasts for the improbable multiplicity of hen nights we’d been invited to in a single weekend.

(Hen nights are bachelorette parties for our non-British contingent.)

My new camera being one-day old at this point, I was still a little snap happy.

Hen #1: VMG!

Arriving in St Andrews always feel like a homecoming.

We stayed in an adorable little cottage on North St that looked right out onto St Salvator’s. As per John’s lifelong dream, we got the room in the tower.

Evidently we had a celebrity of sorts staying there before us. (If you don’t already know the name, I’d recommend against googling.)

John and I made the mistake of hanging out at our cottage until we heard from the bridal party…

…little realising that the drinks were already flowing in earnest over at Victoria’s cottage.

Evidently it didn’t take us too long to catch up.

VMG…and VMG. Hen party organiser Maria had devised a game wherein each of the guests had to buy a small gift for Victoria and she, in turn, had to guess who it was from lest she face a series of increasingly unpleasant forfeits. During their time together on the wards, John had been consistently amused by Victoria’s unique brand of form-filling; which rarely adhered to the prescribed boxes and invariably ended up with a hefty VMG scrawled at the bottom. Since then, he has more or less exclusively called her by her initials, and – this being the manner to which I was first introduced to her – I’ve always done the same thing.

Unfortunately for Victoria, Maria was feeling particularly uncharitable this round, and whilst VMG did correctly guess John as the cookie’s gift-giver, her failure to mention my name resulted in a swig of something vile, imported, and better left unmentioned.

Mother of the bride

…and mother-in-law of the bride!

As a kindness to all parties involved (and you the reader), I’ve politely neglected to upload the burst of impromptu karaoke.

Day 2 of the henstravaganza saw us boarding a painfully early bus to Dundee, mollified by how ridiculously fun the next few hours were. Kim (bride-to-be, and one of my oldest, dearest friends) and her cousin Lauren had arranged a photo scavenger hunt that saw us split into teams and sprinting the length of the city to take all 20 photos on the list.

We were Team Beatrix Kiddo (ba-dum-tsh), and Kim fully owned up to the fact that I was on her team for the inherent tactical advantage of a) my being handy with a camera and b) my raging desire to win. John and Lauren were also on the same team but oddly enough, neither one of them took my suggestion of calling themselves “The Blonde Leading the Blonde”.

Two hours, twenty photos. Begin!

#1: The entire team’s reflection in something other than a mirror.

Also on my team were Fiona (the sister of Colin: groom-to-be and my other oldest, dearest friend), Kim’s work colleague Cat, and Sachiko, who you may remember from her visit to Glasgow.

#2: The bottom of all team members’ shoes. (John’s team came up with a far more elegant solution to this one.)

#3: A personalised item with Kim or Colin’s name on it. We weren’t technically meant to break these out ’til the restaurant but since Fiona had them handy…

#4: A team member sitting on a statue. Thanks, Dawg! (No, really. That’s his name.)

#5: Two team members with a whole lemon in each of their mouths. I would say “finally a use for my ridiculously elastic mouth”, but who are we kidding.

#6: A team member dressed in disguise. (Generously on loan from a random charity worker.)

#7: Team suggestion for bridal lingerie – and a huge thank you to La Senza for their willingness to play along. In case it’s not immediately apparent, that is an under-bra. Like, it’s not even designed to cover the nipples. That shit is so tacky, it wasn’t even on the shop floor.

#8: The entire team piled on top of each other. Cheeramid!

#9: Team members blowing bubbles, with bonus points for most bubbles. How convenient that Kim just happened to have those in her purse! I mean what are the odds.

#10: The number 13 – not too difficult a feat for a city where every phone number starts with 013, but we decided to go for something less obvious.

#11: Team over the wall.

#12: A team member posing with a ‘sexy’ mannequin. Technically this is us posing sexily with a regular mannequin, though Sheena (Kim’s mother and head judge)’s later decision to deduct points for “lewd behaviour” was – I think – a little extreme given the nature of the challenge. I would also like to point out our attempts to take this particular photo saw us removed from the premises of Ann Summers, whose utterly miserable attitude towards the whole thing was the only low point of the game…at least until it came to marking.

#13: Team swinging on swings. Kim has clearly forgotten that we’re even on the hunt at this point.

#14: Team on a slide/chute – children attempting to use that chute be damned.

#15: A paper aeroplane flying from a building.

…thankfully that one didn’t call for it to actually travel any distance.

#16: A team member hugging a stranger. It was the least we could do after stealing their costume.

#17: Entire team “I can’t believe we all fit in here.” Against all odds and with the entirety of Dundee to choose from, one of the other teams picked this exact same location!

#18: The entire team mid-air jump shot (all feet are to be off the ground).

The woman who helped us take this kindly offered to do a dramatic, low-angle shot with us jumping over her. I politely declined; less on account of her general safety, and more for my camera’s wellbeing.

#19: A team member blowing Maltesers. Everyone gamely had a go…minus me, who just decided to eat them.

And finally #20 (worth 50 whole points): The entire team standing by a red convertible car. When I say we went the extra mile to get this one, know that I mean that in the literal sense of we walked half a mile out of town to the car dealership by the riverfront, and all the way back again.

We had just enough time left to get the photos printed and make it to the restaurant, which – coincidentally – was around the time the entire scavenger hunt became less of a game and more a source of my unending fury. In the process of judging, you see, Sheena also took so many liberties with the scoring system that it became comprehensible only unto her. The whole “more points for more difficult photos” criteria was abandoned in favour of everything being marked on a 1/2/3-point basis; three out of the four bonus categories were awarded to the team with, objectively, the worst photos; and it somehow became the case that the teams needed the least amount of points in order to win. What? Exactly.

The only thing that made our being robbed of victory bearable, however, was the even more incomprehensibly harsh treatment of John’s team: who were not only penalised for their more creative approach to the challenges, but were also outright cheated on more than one occasion.

Thankfully for all involved, the scheduled drinking took place immediately afterwards with a cocktail-making course back at the house.

Kim’s response to being told to use “half” measures.

First up, we were taught to make blueberry daiquiris: Bacardi, fresh lime, blueberries and sugar.

Next: the Bombay bramble: a mix of Bombay sapphire gin and fresh lemon served over crushed ice with a Chambord float.

Or, in John’s case, fresh lime served over lime. He really could not get enough of that citrus mix.

Such concentration…

My Bombay Bramble! Which, it has to be said, turned out a damn sight better than my blueberry daiquiri.

And lastly: the Cocktail Co. garden party – a specialist cocktail from the people who run the classes.

Bombay sapphire, elderflower cordial, apple juice, lime and mint. True to its name, it tasted a little like foliage.

Next up…

…piñata time!

She got there after some friendly encouragement…

…and a little help from me to channel her rage once it was down.

Things took a slight Lord of the Flies turn afterwards when the piñata’s head was mounted on a clothes line.

Kim would like it known that this would be an exponentially less toothy picture had it not been for my running commentary.

I, on the other hand, would like it known that Kim made this amazing carrot cake by hand.

My biggest regret of the weekend was that I was so full after dinner that I couldn’t physically eat the cupcakes she’d made. Thankfully I was able to rectify that in full on the day of the wedding.

Man of the hour! Colin’s sister had filmed him answering a set of questions about himself and Kim. She, in turn, had to guess a) what his answer would be, and b) what her actual answer would be. For the record, they both did very well.

Alas, with VMG’s festivities continuing in earnest, we had to say farewell to Kim after dinner and hop a bus back to St Andrews. Unfortunately, this selfsame journey constituting the first time John and I had actually had a chance to sit down all day, it also gave us a chance to reflect on how cripplingly tired we both were, and how little desire we had to go out again that same evening.

It appeared our prayers had been answered, then, when we arrived back at our cottage and found a letter informing us that Victoria had passed out drunk earlier in the day, and was in no fit state to be doing anything, least of all clubbing. As luck as would have it, though, we soon received a knock at the door to notify us that she’d had a second wind, and that the evening was continuing as planned. It was with no small degree of trepidation, therefore, that we headed out for an evening at the Lizard Lounge: which laughably passes for a club in St Andrews, and whose target clientele, it would seem, is the 15 or 50 demographic. And nothing in-between.

The next morning (by which I euphemistically mean the afternoon because, let’s face it, we’d earned at least one lie-in this “holiday” weeked), we took the lack of scheduled activities as an opportunity for some much-needed vegetation.

Finally emerging from our cottage at about 2pm, we reconvened with the remainder of the bridal party and headed out to Jannetta’s – where, even in partial rain, the line was still all the way down the street.

Most of the guests having left by the third day, we spent our last night watching TV and movies over at VMG’s cottage.

What this largely amounted to was alternately watching Sex and the City inside and drinking in the garden.

We also got through Horrible Bosses and The Impossible: the latter of which I possibly ruined for everyone on account of my inability not to call it out on being an ethnocentric piece of crap.

In amongst all this, Paul also found time for an impromptu shopping trip.

I’m going to go out on a limb and assume this is the moment John introduced everyone to mega soor plooms.

Always a crowd pleaser.

The worst part is that he actually has a bag of them on-hand in the house for personal consumption.

Sunrise, day fourth and final.

…and some colourful pit stop graffiti on the drive home.

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