Sunday, 7 October 2012

The curly edge of friendship

This year has seen large scale celebrations in Great Britain along the lines of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee and the Olympics. My own celebrations were on a much more modest scale with six close friends enjoying a day out in London yesterday.
Thirty years ago, hideous brand new blazers on our backs, we all set foot in our secondary school for our first day. Good fortune put us in the same class. Over the next couple of years, we became friends sharing the ups and downs that accompany being teenage girls, though it was missing today's complications of Facebook, texting, instant messaging and cyber bullying. A Walkman taking four AA batteries was an object of desire in the 1980's.
The seven of us realise that despite living farther away from each other than we used to, despite the husbands, children, jobs and geography, it's something unusual that we're all still friends and remain in touch. As well as other gatherings, every five years, we arrange a day out and yesterday to mark our 30th anniversary, we met up to laugh and talk our way through the afternoon and evening.
After meeting in a pub along the Strand for a libation we then headed to a nearby hotel for afternoon tea (I said it was a celebration - I never said that we were hell-raisers). It wasn't a cheap day out for any of us and I was dismayed to find that after waiting some time for the sandwiches the size of postage stamps and a glass of champagne at the princely sum of £35, the bread was hard. Two out of seven of us had been given food clearly on the turn. We complained. Very un- British but thirty five quid is thirty five quid.
Fairness to the manager, we all got replacement sandwiches. The other five had eaten their allotted trio of tiny triangles so a row was on the horizon. After thirty years, we're not worried about shouting the odds over an egg and cress sarnie. Squabble quashed by the careful dibs of the unexpected treasure, we carried on with the cakes and scones.
Heading off to another bar, high on a sugar rush, we drank some more and wandered in the direction of our next instalment in the form of 'Rock of Ages'. Before we disappeared into the theatre, we tried to come up with a date for our next get-together. Diaries and planners at the ready, we crossed off one weekend after another before coming up with the next available date that all of us could manage - Friday 4th January 2013. Hope wherever we book doesn't make the sandwiches too far in advance.

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