Finally the rains came after the driest of dry spells in decades. The biblical proportions kept me home, and plugged into work longer than usual.
The rain relented. Apart from that small window when I left the house, out of practice in carrying an umbrella.
Arrived early enough in the City to enjoy the magnificence of London's engineering and architecture. I do love art in any form, and firmly subscribe to practicing senseless acts of beauty. Question though, in an urban environment, the creation of a metal tree, instead of an actual green real one. Still, the metal tree, in the shadow of the Gherkin, did look cool. Uncomfortableness increased by sitting outside Swingers Club, while awaiting my work tribe. Thoroughly enjoyed team building, the breaking of bread and fun and games involving bats and balls. My sporting prowess in calling a golf club a bat, shows my pride in said prowess. Loved achieving one of the largest scores, even if the game was won by one with the lowest score, confirming my sports skills.
Tried to process the desperate sadness that a special fellow traveller on what we call our ‘cancer journey’ who started out before me, and inspired my own recovery - including chemo quilting - is no longer with us.
Uni-gal returned for one whole hour to transform her ‘pit of despair’ bedroom. As I had already tackled it, sent her off to buy ice for my 'rewind' festival weekend guests. My lovelies who morphed over the past 5 decades from disheveled convent school girls into the accomplished and elegant group now known as our very own Personal Board of Directors (PBoDs). We listen to each other’s challenges, make recommendations, and vote on actions. This weekend the agenda included the important business of fat chewing and making merry with cocktails, to the anthems of our youth, with our dedication demonstrated through an 8 hour 80s playlist.
Attending overseas business, our Chair was missed. Though, I like to think her role as a commercial CEO for a global outfit was shaped, somewhat, by her proficient performance aged 12, to ‘Never smile at a crocodile’. We met in our second decade, before ambitions, opinions, partners, offspring and professions were imagined, let alone realised. Although in truth our Chair was probably born with ambition.
Hoping the neighbours shared our delight at garden disco lights and 80s revival into the wee small hours. But we don’t often get to gather, free of the debris of our lives. Was surprised at how little we know of each other’s professional lives and discussion did briefly turn to the world of work. After extensive education, training and experience the Psycho(therapist) wondered why she’d bothered when my Forensic friend summarised a difficult issue with a cuttingly quick quip. As the Forensic one mentioned her ever expanding professional role, it was noted, she hasn’t done bad for that girl in the grey ra-ra skirt, fag constantly in gob, who was so brilliant at glaring. The Artist, obviously mainly looked cool, and despite not actually pursuing a career as an artist, will forever retain that school-day signature.
The PBoDs walked through fields and woods to shake off the Friday night excesses, to enjoy brunch, cooked and cleared by none of us. En-route the Spaniard joined us - a label from a couple of years spent on an Spanish island, many moons ago. Like the Artist I pay no attention to the intervening years of career and business building, and retain nicknames of bygone days.
Youth was relived in getting the bus back from brunch. We resisted seating ourselves at the back of the top deck, as once we might - though the giggles and squeals returned, I am sure to the amusement and enjoyment of our fellow travellers. I hope the neighbourhood agrees how lovely these guests were, with the beautiful sounds of raucous laughter, screaming stories of highs and lows, blaring out about boys we may, or may not, have intimately known, and the obligatory and obviously hilarious cock jokes – surely a convent education hangover if ever there was one. We are bound by much: shared and lived experiences, rejected religion and somehow knowing that three is the magic number for offspring.
Each are lovely, no matter their troubles, all kind, concerned and funny. Really really funny. And I discovered middle aged moms make the best guests: toilet rolls are replenished, washing up is done, recycling finds its way past the kitchen, patio blankets are folded, bathrooms and bedrooms are left as found, and laundry is deposited by machines, without expecting or asking for any of it.
Writing this on Sunday night the house is quiet, but full of flowers, chocolates and cocktail remnants. I ruminate on the joy of old friends, and smile at shared memories of a French teacher chasing a tall boy with a fire extinguisher, around a sports field, cheered by 600 girls hanging out windows.
Feel blessed. And determined that in this next while we will make plans beyond the responsibilities that fill our days and forever include time to laugh at cock jokes.
Roll on the next rewind.