Friday, 13 February 2015

A Platonic Valentine to My Friends


I listen to Radio 2, which I’m sure will come as no surprise!  On Thursday’s, there is a ‘higher or lower’ song feature, requiring the lovely sports presenter (never seen him, just sounds like a good egg) to guess whether the second song was out earlier or later than the first one played.  Anyway, last week it was ‘Good Enough’ by Dodgy, which took me right back to the day I got my finals.  My friend K had stayed over at my house, having travelled back to Liverpool to get the results.  We hit my local the night before and somehow K managed to rip her jeans on the way home and we never worked out why.  Seven pints does seem to dull the brain cells.  The morning of the results, the radio alarm went off and the song playing was ‘Good Enough’ (clearly not listening to Radio 2 when I was 21!).  As it turned out it was more than good enough as I nabbed a better classification that I had been expecting!

It got me thinking about K, and how we’re just Christmas card and Facebook friends now, and how I’ve completely lost touch with another one of our gang, and it made me melancholy for a mo.  Such is life and the passage of time and all that.  However, it did get me thinking of all my fab friends that I do have more regular contact with, and how it would be good if there was a platonic Valentine’s type day for all the wonderful people who enhance our lives, whether they be real, virtual, constant or in and out.  I watch Daughter with her friends now and wonder whether they will be distant memories in 30 years or whether she will still be laughing with R about how R loved our rug and used to come and make rug angels on it!

I went out for dinner with some of my ‘mum’ friends last week, and we had such a good time.  These are new friends, acquired at the school gates, and they only know the ‘now’ me.  There’s J, who is so calm and chilled and just being in her very presence is like having a soothing balm rubbed on your temples.  Then there’s another J, who makes me snort with laughter every single time we meet, whether that be exchanging children on a play-date or on a night out, or just exchanging plans to drink gin.  We’re planning to take our girls to the Big Smoke in the autumn, so that should be fun. H is my mum-idol.  If there’s any doubt or confusion about school plans, date or requirements, we all chime in with the same…H will know!  She’s got an older child, and most of the rest of us have only got one, or have younger ones, so she is the acknowledged guru.  And she makes a darned strong cocktail!  And not forgetting R, upon whom Daughter loads bags full of toys/tat at school drop-off when she is going to their house for tea (despite the fact that her friend, R’s daughter A, has also got plenty of toys and no doubt tat, and really they just want to wait for R’s partner to come home so they can play whatever computery thing they’ve got!).  And of course, ‘R lets me have two eggs!’ (subtext:  unlike you, Mother, you mean and miserable one egg miser) , which is akin to a Nobel Peace Prize for Daughter!  And L, who is witty and funny, and usually has the up-to-date information (I wouldn’t sully her reputation by calling it gossip!).

The there’s ‘the girls’.  They’ve starred before, and we do like to operate a ‘Vegas’ policy, having all known the ‘then’ us…We don’t see each other enough, but what we are absolutely certain of it that time doesn’t matter.  Whether it’s a big night out of a casual meal out, we will all go home feeling warm and fuzzy and wishing we saw more of each other.

Then there’s H, for whom I was bridesmaid a couple of weeks ago.  How lovely to see one of my dearest friends floating on a cloud of love and happiness.  And how lovely for me to have glammed up in a gorgeous gown (thanks, Mother of the Bride!) and stayed in a posh hotel (thanks, Mother of the Bride!) and drink champagne at 9 o’clock in the morning!  And 10 o’clock.  And…  Again, the Vegas approach has been adopted and adapted – whatever happened in Ayia Napa has well and truly stayed there, and whatever happened in South Wales when we lived together is also there (in Wales, not Ayia Napa).  Except for the night that me and H didn’t go out with everyone else but took the opportunity to clean the disgusting communal kitchen.  It really was vile and a health hazard, but I think I’d send a message back to the young me and tell me to get my backside down the pub.  A message to H’s new husband…see what you’ve let yourself in for!

Some friends you just don’t see at all anymore, and even nearing twenty years later it can still feel like you’ve lost a bit of yourself.  LL and I, who for complete in-joke purposes and so she can identify herself, I’ll call Roy, truly were partners in crime.  How we ever actually got anywhere I don’t know, because it was pre-mobile phone and they didn’t have a house phone.  But come rain or shine, we’d be where we were supposed to be on Saturday night (and Sunday, Thursday and Friday…)  Thursday nights were good, and I didn’t have uni the next day, but I do remember a particularly late one where Roy did have class the next day and ended up asleep under coats at the back of the studio.  Well, you’re only young once!  Now we are miles from each other, and not in touch very much at all.  We’ve both got daughters (and her a lovely handsome son), only six months between them, and we often comment on photographs of one daughter that the other daughter has got the same outfit.  Sometimes you can’t be separated by distance.  I know our girls would have been best friends if we still lived near each other though.

If I mention the other L again, she might start charging me appearance rights!  She is probably my oldest friend.  I don’t want to say just how long, for fear of giving our age away (oh! Have I already done that?!).  But in over 25 years of friendship, we’ve never been on holiday, never been away for the weekend, and not stayed in the same house together since we were in our teens.  We don’t spa together, and really don’t actually see each other outside of exercise classes very much at all, despite literally living round the corner from each other.  But she’ll be the first person the comment on this blog, probably by text, and I don’t think a day goes by where we don’t text.  She knows what I watch on the TV, how much weight I've lost, who’s annoyed me today…you name it.  We don’t go for gooey sentiment, and I could count on less than one hand the number of times we’ve hugged, but this about sums us up:



I’m bound to have forgotten and therefore offended someone.  Aargh!  To C, with whom I share a common belief that we can do things much more efficiently, and who gets a daily bore about my food intake:  13 so far.

And to Sister, who will have the po-iest of po-faces on at not being mentioned…


Tuesday, 3 February 2015

TV Times


I love telly.  There, I’ve said it.  I gorge on books, spend more time on Facebook than is appropriate for a woman of my age, don my trainers a couple of times a week and jump about, enjoy the therapeutic value of a bit of baking and what have you, but I do love a good old session of square-eyesism.  And demand TV has revolutionised my viewing.  I’m a busy woman, work full time, including at least one late night a week, house, family and a magically re-filling washing basket, so my real-time viewing opportunities are limited.  Plus our TV only seems to have two channels – Sky Sports and Pop! (not even Tiny Pop anymore, sniff sniff at my baby not being a baby!) and so  I do very much appreciate a bit of catch-up.

Husband and I have a bit of a Venn diagram approach to joint viewing, with my side consisting of hospital dramas, anything starring Rob Lowe, 'women's stuff', and his consisting of sport and Masterchef, and our common ground being Midsomer Murders and a few more pensioner crime dramas.  Not Silent Witness though, he's not at all keen on that!
 
 
There are a couple more things that we might meet on the sofa for, but our viewing habits are largely poles apart.  We did used to like a cup of tea over Emmerdale prior to Daughter discovering the TV, but then it clashed with 64 Zoo Lane and In the Night Garden, and now I don’t know who anyone is.
You’d imagine it would be lonely, watching all this solo TV, but no!  For I have a very valuable commodity – a remote viewing buddy.  Oh yes.  L and I have very similar viewing habits and being a busy woman herself she doesn’t do a lot of real time viewing either.  So, whilst we’re not sad enough to co-ordinate our viewing, we do very often find ourselves watching in close-ish proximity, and in the absence of an actual sofa buddy, it’s nice to have someone to comment to.  Solving mysteries (was it the son or not in Missing?), sharing emotional exhaustion (funeral in Last Tango in Halifax) and general character assassination (Meredith in Grey’s Anatomy) or mutual appreciation of a fine view (Derek in Grey’s Anatomy), a response is only a (free!) text away.  The wonder of the modern age…TV at the wrong time and company via a screen. 
Between a busy weekend away and having to camp out at the Parent’s house thanks to a wait for heating repair, I’ve got a right old backlog.  Husband and I have got a couple of things to watch, but I’ve got quite the stash.  Now, I must text L and work out what I should watch first!