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Where did the last 35 years go?

December 11, 2012

One weekend, a German, a Swede and a Norn Irish/Parisian

One weekend, a German, a Swede and a Norn Irish/Parisian


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our year at the reunion

our year at the reunion


In February this year a very small group of us met in London and went to the theatre, ate, drank and were merry. We had all been at the same Sixth Form and although hadn’t been in constant contact, had managed to keep in touch enough to have each others’ current mobile numbers. At that gathering we agreed we would go to the 50th Anniversary celebrations that our College were holding in London later in the year. A kind of ‘I will if you will’ bond.

Similarly on facebook – the connector extaordinaire – another group were committing to attend, and once the first person threw down the gauntlet by putting their money where their mouth was, the tickets sold like wildfire.

And so it was on Thursday evening three international travellers found their way to Ealing to start the celebrations, using our place as a base. Perfect timing had meant all our lovely young hip n happening housemates had moved out so the aged were each able to have their own room.

Two arrived late evening and we had a few civilised glasses of wine. The final bedfellow arrived tired and emotional after a long work day and an even longer working evening. She had been woken up to get off the tube (luckily we are the end of the line) and had to scramble back to the train to rescue her abandoned suitcase. The cabbie got a tongue lashing for not knowing where we lived, until she realised she probably hadn’t given him our address.

preferring digital to reality

preferring digital to reality


The next afternoon my favourite cabbie arrived to whisk us in to town. We set off to get to the pre-event where lots of our year were going to meet before plunging in to the melee of 800 people, the majority of whom we wouldn’t know personally. What a great idea that was to meet up and have a chance to grab a bite and a drink before the canape-only event? But where is everyone? I can’t see anyone I recognise. There appears to be a retirement party gathered in the corner. OH MY GOD, no, it isn’t a retirement party. It’s US. Holy shit how did that happen? Gradually my eyes and brain acclimatise to the grey hair, the lack of hair, the increase in weight, the wrinkles and slowly people stop looking older and start looking like they always did. It’s like when you go to Harrods and after a while you start thinking £75 for a shirt is pretty cheap.

And before we knew it we had to head off to the main event. Merchant Taylor’s Hall just a short cab ride away. It was like a conference. Name badges, cloakrooms, hundreds of people. And three tiddlywinks to exchange at the bar. Before I knew it I was two down. I don’t know how I do it. Practice I think.

The finger foods appeared – 2p sized discs of cheese and tomato and then salmon kebabs and fish and chips, the latter of which are no use to me as I am allergic but they looked nice. I somehow missed the sausages and sandwiches that were allegedly circulating. And also managed to miss numerous people who I found out afterwards had been there. It would have been helpful to be given a list of attendees so you could know who to look for – after 35 years it is surprising the number of people that you don’t immediately recognise across the room and utterly fabulous when you see someone who really hasn’t changed a bit.

I had a great time chatting, dancing, laughing, drinking. Suddenly, like Cinderella, it was all over. The pumpkin pulled up and we were whisked home. I’m never good with fresh air on top of alcohol, and add a cab ride in to the mix and it is often a colourful result. But tonight my intestines didn’t turn inside out and we got back to Ealing unsullied.
AC reunion 3
The next day a lovely relaxed luncheon put on by one of my first years and her husband who also attended the same college but a number of years earlier. It was absolutely perfect. A glorious London day, a beautiful view of the river, wonderful food, flowing wine and great company. And easier to chat than at the main event as no thumping disco beat.
An evening of continued chatter merged seamlessly in to breakfast the next day and coffee with more old friends who popped in on their way home.
And all too soon it is over and I am wishing I had managed to spend more time talking to more people whilst they were in London, but not wanting to have spent less time with the ones I did manage to catch up with.

Perhaps its a sign of a good reunion. It left me wanting more.

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