IT was Saturday night and I had joined my family and friends at my brother's house for my niece's 25th birthday party.

"What's up with you?" I asked Maggie the birthday girl, who looked less than celebratory on her big night.

"I'm on a diet and I'm starving," she moaned.

"Well, surely you can have a bit of birthday cake?" I suggested.

"It is your birthday after all."

"Nope," Maggie replied adamantly.

"I'm not spoiling my diet for the sake of one day."

"I know someone else who could lose a couple of pounds," I said, turning to my red-faced pal Angela.

That very afternoon Angela had dragged me into Versace to shop for something to wear to the party.

Soon she had spotted a pair of very expensive black trousers.

"How much?" I shrieked when I saw the price tag. "And they look far too small for you."

"No. No .They're definitely my size," replied Angela, who always imagined she was thinner than she actually was.

"OK," I agreed unconvincingly. "Go and try them on."

"Houdini would struggle to get in and out of those trousers, never mind Angela," I thought to myself as I settled down outside the cubicle.

Sure enough, after a very long time and lots of grunting, puffing and panting sounds from behind the curtain, an assistant politely enquired: "Are you okay in there madam"?

"Emm.... I can't get the zip down," Angela was forced to admit.

"I'll have a go," I suggested helpfully.

But no matter how much I pulled and hauled at the zip, it would not budge.

Every assistant in the shop took it in turns to free Angela, whose face got redder and redder as she struggled to breathe.

Exasperated, the assistants threw in the towel when one of them, obviously attempting to save Angela from further humiliation professionally suggested: "Sorry madam. The zip must be faulty. I'm afraid we will have to cut you out of these."

So while the assistants hacked at the expensive trousers to release Angela, I sat outside the cubicle and texted my friends: "In Versace. Angela is getting cut out of a pair of skintight trousers. LOL. X."

The party guests thought the whole story was hilarious - which sparked a retort from Angela.

"Yes, well remember the night you had to waddle from the bathroom to the kitchen to cut your knickers off with a bread knife as they were too tight?"

And how could I forget … so I quickly changed the subject.

"I was just thinking of the time poor Susan had a go on my dad's new rowing machine," I told them.

Susan was a family friend who always had great banter with my dad about the highs and lows of their weight.

However, this particular afternoon Susan dropped in just as my mum and dad had gone out for the day.

We were all taking turns on the new rowing machine when I said to her: "Right Susan. Your turn. Come on and have a go".

"No way!" Susan answered determinedly.

"Your dad will be back soon and I don't want him seeing me exercising."

"No chance," I assured her. "He's in Edinburgh for the day."

Reluctantly Susan sat on the machine and soon she was into the swing of things when suddenly, out of nowhere my dad appeared by our side.

On spotting Susan rowing back and forth he couldn't help himself and shouted: "Oi Susan, sorry hen, but it's the QE2 you'll need to row if you want to shift the pounds."

And we all laughed out loud as we remembered Susan turning the air blue as she climbed off the machine.

A couple of hours into the party while standing in the kitchen Christine nudged me and asked: "What's the birthday girl up to?"

We both focused on the antics of Maggie, who was standing with a bowl of cheese Doritos in her hand.

"Looks like her diet didn't last too long after all," I surmised.

However, we noticed that instead of eating the Doritos, Maggie was savoring the smell of each crisp before licking the cheese flavour off and discarding the soggy crisp on a side plate.

We stood staring at her when we noticed that every now and then someone would walk past and lift one of the soggy crisps and eat it.

"Maggie," I shouted, "What on earth are you doing?"

"I'm on a diet," she explained again. "I can't eat crisps."

A bemused Christine shook her head. "The things people will do to lose weight."