A week before Christmas we were supposed to go out for our annual friends' Chrismtas meal/bash. There's usually eight of us and each year we pick a local restaurant or pub and have a good, old-fashioned fun evening. This year we were due at Los Iguanas, a South American restaurant in the Arcadian centre in Birmingham city centre. We'd been the previous year and had such a great time (fantastic food, good 'buzz', friendly service) that we booked again. And then it snowed. Rather a lot, actually, and several hours before the meal we were forced to cancel.
Luckily the restaurant understood. The city centre was gridlocked, their customers were dropping like flies (apparently only 25 turned up out of 250 bookings), and they very kindly held the booking open for us until the new year.
On Saturday we tried again, and this time the weather was kind to us. Six of the original party of eight made it, and we had another fantastic evening. Same wonderful food, same great vibe; in fact the only thing that was missing was the Christmas trimmings - and you don't really need crackers or a tree to have a good time.
While we were there one of our friends, who's a police officer, let slip a little nugget of information that immediately set off story alarms in my brain. I'm not going to say what it was, because that would give the plot away, but first thing Monday I settled down with the idea and have been scribbling ever since. The result is another crime story for the anthology and if I finish it I'll be sending a note of thanks to my friend. I just hope he realised the inspiration he sparked!