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WOMEN'SOWN Lynne Barrett-Lee.

Byline: Lynne Barrett-Lee

LWOMEN'SOWN Lynne Barrett-Lee iar, liar, pants on fire. Hate lying. Always did, if I'm honest. Not that in this case, it isn't for a good cause. A whiter than white lie, which I know makes it acceptable, however heeby-jeeby-ish it feels. As I write, you see, it's soon to be my friend Rachel's 50th, for which her daughter Sophie had an idea of great gorgeousness.

She's organised a surprise party for her. Posh party, too. At a 'Venue'. Which is great (will have BEEN great, I hope, by the time you read this), except for one detail.

Rachel, as is her prerogative, has been arranging her own. Hence the brush with those old muckers, secrets and lies. And, boy, have I turned out to be good at them. Just as well for, out of necessity, they have propagated like knotweed, scrambling unrestrained through the very fabric of my psyche.

Jeeps, the FOOD! Rachel cooks. Cooking's Rachel's religion, so you can imagine the deviousness required to stop her. We're talking massive curry buffet plus a choice of seven puddings. For all I know, she may have been stockpiling poppadums since June. So I have had to be firm and bring the big guns to the table, lest she secretly start batch freezing kormas.

"Look, Luke's doing it, okay? Yes, you DID hear right - in Birmingham! So, yes, he WILL be bringing it down the M5 on the night. Stop panicking! What can possibly go wrong?" Then there's the guest list. OMG she's invited everyone! And I sympathise because it's probably what I'd have done, too.

Nothing more terrifying than the thought of a half-empty house, is there? So we're three days away, and the task is Herculean. "Who the HELL is Eddo?" we deceit-mongers warble anxiously, on Facebook.

"Larry Fishcake? Penelope Trivet? Anna Plug?" Then we stalk them, James Bond-style, and 'turn' them, like Smiley, until they too are enmeshed in our wicked web of lies.

So we're Then there's the "whole-house furniture re-deployment" situation, the thrice deflected plan to go and hire a marquee, the idea ("Lynne, what d'you think?") to clear out HER three days WHOLE GARAGE, in order to free up a bit more space. away, and the task is Herculean.

"Who the I am (obviously) earmarked to bring and deploy fairylights. And Rose and Deb, primed and learning untruths like mantras, are coming along to help 'set things up'. So there'll be several of us, scurrying, as one does at such junctures, placing tealights, plumping cushions, erecting wallpapering tables. Then decorating same, frothily, with crepe tablecloths and sprinklage, ready to receive the much-anticipated fictional finger buffet that, even as we bustle, is doomed.

HELL is Eddo?" we deceitmongers Doomed to be stuck in a 13- mile tail back somewhere of my choosing on the A449.

"Don't panic!" I shall coo at her. warble anxiously, "Luke'll get here, don't you worry! You just concentrate on - ooh, would that be Sophie at the door?" Course, the BIG plan, which gets Rachel, via stealth, to her real party, will require the biggest, most wiley, most convincing lie of all. on Facebook Only two things, at this stage, are certain.

One is that I shall be so very glad when it's over.

And the other's that if you catch a whiff of smoke in North Cardiff, that'll be my underwear. Spontaneously combusting...

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Nov 19, 2011
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