Sunday, 4 September 2011

We will face it together the way old friends do

We're in East Sussex, on the outskirts of a village called Lindfield. It's been another incredibly social day which found us down in Lewes celebrating Uncle Bill and Rupert's son's christening... Or baptism... Or whatever they call these sinister things in a Catholic church. We missed the ceremony itself, on account of its being at 9am in East Sussex, but arrived in time for the post-procedure party. Little Jago had, we're told, looked a picture in his little white frock, and been as good as gold throughout the experience, even when the vicar/priest/Antichrist had poured water all over the little tyke's forehead!

Uncle Bill is a friend from university days and there were lots of people crammed into her sitting room who I hadn't seen for far too long. It was lovely to find out what everyone was up to, and oddly comforting to discover that I'm not the only one who's finding the financial climate a bit of a struggle at the moment.

All the little squabbles and dramas of university days had melted into a beautiful warm glow and it struck me what astonishingly successful grown-ups we'd become. Not just in terms of the jobs we do - although there were screen writers, therapists, university academics, composers, actors, entrepreneurs and singers all sitting in the room - but also because we're loyal people, who have all managed to create and maintain loving, successful relationships, and, as friends, have seen each other through good and bad times. I was also thrilled to be in the presence of both of my god-children, and the lovely Meriel, who has recently started to emit an indefinable but nevertheless magnificent light.

We went to a local pub. Hilary and Rupert had laid on a lovely buffet of cheeses and sandwiches, and after the majority of guests had left, and the rain had cleared, we went for a stroll around Lewes. It's a charming town, and the view from the castle is delightful.

We left Lewes, immediately took a wrong turning and started heading north via a series of country lanes, through a number of picturesque villages, many of which had cute little train stations.

On the outskirts of Haywards Heath, I was suddenly overcome by a desire to call in on another university friend, Ellie. I knew she lived in a village nearby, and a quick look at a map confirmed that it was Lindfield, and we were about 2 miles away.

Ellie's mobile doesn't have reception in her house, and as no-one was answering the home phone, I was forced to dive into my memory and try and retrace the steps of a visit I'd made to the village about five years earlier. I found her road and the terrace that she lived in, but couldn't remember the number of her actual house. A quick phone call to her sister, Izzy, provided us with the information we needed, and we were able to go ahead with the surprise visit.

Ellie seemed thrilled to see us, and was in the process of putting her five-year-old daughter to bed, which meant we were enlisted to "do" the bed time story, which was about friendly monsters living under a little girl's bed. It was a story that would have given me nightmares as a child, but she loved it!

We had a nice chat over a cup of tea, whilst Ellie's daughter hid on the stairs, not permitted to come and join us, but desperate not to be left out, and obviously hugely excited by the glamour of late-night visitors.

Life is good. Time spent with close friends and family is hugely enriching. I have a very tiring week approaching and feel emotionally ready to take on the world.

350 years ago, Pepys ate oysters for the first time that season. They say one should never eat oysters in months without an r in them - i.e. the summer months, when waters were warm and diseases were rife.

Pepys and Elizabeth went walking in St James' Park, which had recently been re-landscaped, and looked, we're told, "brave." I love the word brave used in this context.

No comments:

Post a Comment