Saturday, 28 June 2014

Burgess Hill

I appear to be at the train station in Burgess Hill. It's a funny old place, with a ticket office which never seems to be open.

Burgess Hill itself is not the most attractive town. It's filled with rather plain 1930s architecture and out-of-town industrial units.

The middle-aged man on the platform next to me, with his insanely posh partner, is so drunk that he fell over whilst trying to sit on a bench! He lay for some time like a beetle on the Tarmac, apologising profusely whilst his wife tried to pick him up. I desperately wanted him to be called Gregor. I have a horrible suspicion he was at the party I've just been to, so I'm pretending I've not seen him to avoid any more embarrassment!

Today's party was at my cousin Matt's house in Ditchling, a gloriously attractive village on the edges of the South Downs. It's one of those places you can't really believe exists! The party was a three-fold celebration: 21 years of marriage, 10 years since Matt started his business with his wife Boo, and five years since he was diagnosed with cancer. He made a tremendously moving speech - essentially about love - which had us all welling up.

Meriel came as my honorary husband and we spent much of the day drinking Pimms and eating cake. Despite the weathermen's promises of terrible weather all day, we were blessed with nothing but glorious sunshine, with the exception of one ten-minute shower. How do these weathermen manage to get things so spectacularly wrong?

Many of my extended family were there; my aunt (is it strange that I genuinely only have one aunt?) my cousins, their children and step children - the party creaking under the weight of homosexuality. It's not just both my brothers who are gay!

My aunt and my mother wore exactly the same skirt! What are the chances of that? Neither seemed at all worried by the fact. My mother apparently used to do the same thing with my God Mother, Janet. They're all a bit psychic, my lot. In fact, as I was walking along with Auntie Glen, I picked up my phone to send Nathan a text and she suddenly said, "and how IS Nathan?" Like I'd done something more than simply think about him... bit weird.

Today marks the 100th anniversary of the shooting of Archduke Ferdinand, which of course started the chain of events which speedily led to the First World War. It's quite an astounding thought. One moment England is basking in the glory of an Edwardian summer and within two months it's at war... The greatest loss of life in war this country will probably ever know.

A brass band was playing at Victoria station. I sat in a cafe working, and kept hearing little blasts of Nimrod and other patriotic tunes. There's something rather timeless about a train station. I imagined Victoria 100 years ago... The news slowly filtering through about the Archduke's assassination. The majority of people having no idea what that meant, a couple more wondering if that meant a few lucky soldiers would be able to travel to Europe for the adventure of their lives.

No comments:

Post a Comment