Monday 22 August 2022
Well, I may not have stepped onto a plane this August but I have certainly covered a few miles! Well done to Windsor, my trusty Toyota, for doing most of the work and hip hip hooray for ‘Heart 80s‘; pumping out nostalgic tunes from the car dashboard and providing the perfect soundtrack for the holiday season…
Heart 80s … why so perfect? Because, as I look back on the last 4 weeks, I realise that I have spent an awful lot of it with those I first met in… the 1980s! Just the sort of symmetry to make my mathematical mind happy and to inspire me to write this week’s post as an ode to some of my oldest pals…
First stop; dear university friends (known since the mid 80s) in the North East. Here we ‘make it a night to remember‘ in the pub quiz followed by a day of drinking ‘red red wine,’ and also sampling the fizzy, white and rose varieties at an organic wine tasting. We ‘walk this way‘ and that way and many miles through the glorious local countryside, where the fields of corn, barley and wheat just take my breath away. And finally, be it a ‘green door‘, brown door or even a solid steel fortification, nothing and I mean nothing, is stopping one very competitive friend from breaking it down in a determined quest to wrestle us out of an Escape Room within the allocated hour!
After several happy days, I head home whereupon, accompanied by a fellow classmate from sixth form (slightly earlier mid-80s) we go ‘running up that hill‘ and also wrapping ourselves in 4 sets of blankets to watch an exuberant but unspeakably chilly outdoor production of Midsummer Night’s Dream at a local riding centre. Whilst I would recommend the incredible Illyria theatre company without hesitation, I could almost swear I heard the Bard himself chuckle ‘Oh Lord what fools these mortal be!‘ as the wind freezes hands to the point where picnickers dare not even release them from the safety of rugs and jumpers to hold a glass of prosecco !
Thereafter however, comes the heat. Aside from a brief flit to Middlesborough (furniture drop for my Eldest) and a trip to sunny Stratford for Promdress daughter’s birthday, the ‘long hot summer‘ just passes us by, in a sweltering week of deckchair basking and ‘cool pool’ froth in the garden not-so-hot tub.
And before long, my next visitor arrives, a teacher training bestie from the late 80s. Now ‘girls just want to have fun‘ and that is exactly what we do. Courtesy of this sunniest of Summers we are able to sit out until late to drink and chat and also spend a delicious day in the bars and cafes of Manchester.
But then….‘C’mon‘ calls Windsor ‘It’s time for me to hit the road again!’
Indeed it is! Nicknamed a ‘long distance lorry driver‘ by one witty amigo, on account of my holiday travels, I find time to whirl along the motorway to deposit Small Boy in Wales and then set the satnav for ‘a town called ...‘ London! Yes; I drive to London – eek! I am terrified. I am bamboozled. I am ‘ultra low emission zone’ charged and navigationally challenged. I have nightmares about taking a wrong turn and seeing the monopoly board come to life from my car window.
But with the trains on strike it is the only way for me to catch-up with great uni friends, some of whom I have not seen for over 5 years. So I go for it, get there in one piece and then enjoy ….
I am a ‘west end girl‘ with lunch and a mini-reunion at the elegant Wolseley in Piccadilly plus a stroll around a (very brown) Green Park. Then it’s the cultural delights of the Southbank; ‘Surrealism Beyond Borders‘ at Tate Modern before an afternoon at the Globe for my second dose of Shakespeare this Summer.
My final day veers a little more off the beaten track at Trinity Buoy Wharf. We go primarily to hear the ‘Long Player‘ a 1000 year piece of music composed by Jem Finer, once of the Pogues. Not only did my friend and I see the Pogues (together) at Glastonbury back in 1986, but I further relish in coincidences, realising that, by utter chance, it was also a location used in the Netflix film, Rogue Agent, which I watched with the teens just 4 days earlier… spooky! The site is even more than Long Player too, with arty workshops, a museum honouring Faraday, who conducted experiments in electric lighting for lighthouses there in the nineteenth century, the Floodtide music installation plus one of the quirkiest cafes I’ve stopped at for quite some time. A terrific find.
And it is there that my August 2022 travels end. Windsor and I point the compass north and we duo of Wild Rovers speed merrily up the motorway home.
Great times, great company, great 80s soundtrack, great Summer …