WELL, it's been a right royal knees-up this weekend. On Friday night Bad Manners left Meeja Wales for the final time, having had a three-month stay of execution over the Christmas period. Poor old Manners is going from being on a part-time contract with our hard-up organisation to a mega bucks deal as a press officer - a bit like Kevin Keegan's transfer from Scunthorpe to Liverpool, really. We shall all miss her because she was a very good pair of hands to have in the building.
Strange, too, her choice of new career. I remember vividly her chastising one press officer after another when desperate to get quotes for stories she was doing when on WoS. One lot, the NSPCC, particularly wound her up and you quite often heard the phone slammed down followed by a stream of unprintable expletives. Boot will be on the other foot now, though.
Anyway, we all adjourned to the Copa for a drink. It was a small gathering, the credit crunch seeming to bite hard into Cardiff's usually vibrant nightlife. Still managed to rock home feeling well oiled later in the evening.
Next day and Wren joined me in Cardiff. That night we were going to Kempy and Coggsy's belated wedding party, so in the afternoon we took a trip into town to get Wren's shoes re-heeled. Well, what we actually did was buy her a new pair of shoes for the occasion, then book a mega luxurious two-centre honeymoon in Cuba, spending a few nights in historic Havana before moving on to the beach resort of Varadero where we will be spending our time on sun-kissed sandy beaches in 80 degree heat while staying in a five-star hotel. Can't wait.
Anyway, on to the evening do and Wren, the Wonderful Withers and I grabbed a taxi to make our way to the posh sounding Penarth Yacht Club at just after eight. "We won't be too late, it was only starting at 7pm," I pointed out.
"Kempy will be hammered then," was the Wonderful One's reply.
When we finally got there we almost missed the venue - a ropey old building being lashed by the winds coming off the coast and not a yacht in sight. We had to ring a dodgy doorbell to get in.
Inside, though, the great and the good were there in abundance. Coggsy's uncle Chris, who I had worked with on the Indie, was there holding fort in all his grandure, while my old mate Stu and his wife Anna had made the trip from London for the occasion.
It was great to see the old boy again and eventually we were reminiscing about the good old times, like the one where I interviewed him for a job and we spent the entire night pogoing on the Queen's Vaults dance floor after a shedful.
Wren, meanwhile, was enjoying the local wine. Bumping into Sandra "Hoypa" Loye, one of our other executive editors, she proceeded to wish her all the best in her new job. Sandra was beginning to wonder if Wren knew something she didn't. Her bemused expression triggered something in Wren who then inquired a might sheepishly: "You are Sarah Manners, aren't you?"
Loye, I am pleased to report, saw the funny side.
Later on, and we were all dancing to some particularly cheesy music on the dancefloor before heading off into the night. Reaching the bottom of the stairs, however, we suddenly found ourselves bombarded from above. It was Kempy, standing on the balcony shouting "Cheesy nibbles, anybody?" and raining them down on our heads from a great height. She may be a wife and mother now, but it's nice to see she hasn't changed a jot.