Sunday, November 11, 2007

Lost in our overcoats, waiting for the sunset

I saw two old friends this week, and a third a couple of weeks ago. They all live a long way away these days. I met A when I was 18 and she lived next door to me in our first year at Cambridge. She was studying architecture and would stay up all night making scale models out of cardboard, while I was in the next room writing essays about dialectical materialism. One lovely summer morning we finished at dawn, shared a joint with our mutual friend E and went running around on the Backs leaving barefoot trails in the dew. It was like something out of a film. We were the luckiest people alive, we just didn't realise it at the time.

C turned up the following year, with a music collection I envy to this day. She was from the North East, and I went to stay with her after I'd been to NUS Women's Conference in Newcastle. We went out on the town, which I needed badly after three days of heated debate about patriarchy and tampons. As we were running for the last bus back to her mum and dad's an old man waved his stick at us and shouted 'go home and look after your children!' The next day we walked along the cliffs and got blown to bits. I want to see that coastline again. I say I prefer the north west but I'm old enough to appreciate both now.

And the Lizard I met when I first moved to Oxford. We worked together at the House on the Hill, where she had the worst job in the world but the best similes. "As mad as a badger" is still common parlance chez joella. I think someone else may have coined that one, but I'm sure "as sweaty as a football" and "as scared as a fruit salad" were Lizard originals. She doesn't live *that* far away actually, but her house is impossible to find, even with Wendy the GPS. It took me over 2 hours to get there and less than one to get back. The Tesco delivery man called her three times the next morning, because he couldn't find it either. I ended up standing out on the road in my pyjamas, waving him in. Then he broke down in the drive and the recovery lorry took an hour and a half to get there. It's like the Bermuda Triangle of Berkshire.

What's lovely about old friends, though, is how quickly you get to laughing. Maybe that's why you stay friends with them. All the people you used to know who *don't* make you laugh fade away.




Blogger Beth said...

That's not right - reading that post made me feel weepy! It's not fair!!

3:22 pm  
Blogger Jo said...


12:49 pm  
Blogger Beth said...

It's Ok - I'm feeling better now.

1:46 pm  
Anonymous M said...

I got the headline reference. Bookends, a favourite album of my youth.

12:58 am  

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