My life is bearing all the hallmarks of a mid life crisis. First there was the decision to take voluntary redundancy, as discussed previously this was either brave or stupid depending on your point of view and my ever changing state of mind. Next was a ponderous drive past my childhood home and teenage haunts.
We lived in the aforementioned family home from when I was five, my parents moved out around 3 years ago just as I hit 40. A beautiful, big house we were lucky to have, in a nice area. By the time my two elder sisters moved out I was lucky enough to have the whole of the third floor of this house. I had left school at 16 and moved out, but returned to live when I returned to A levels.
Anyhow, I drove past the house the other day and had a flood of memories from the last time I saw my maternal grandfather being stretchered out following a heart attack to my first romantic fumbles and the last time my Mother left the house when it was sold and I escorted her out of the door for the last time as she wiped away a tear and all of the memories stored in a house where a family grew for 30 odd years.
From there I traced my walk to secondary school, past the houses of numerous old girlfriends ( Rachel, Emily,Manon, Cecilia) and friends who were girls who I wanted desperately to be more (Abigail,Ellen, Jenny, Cait) and friends who were like brothers (Tim, Andy,Russell, Richie, Lee). In fact these guys were brothers, blood brothers thanks to drunken inspiration with a pen knife outside the Coach and Horse one long summer night! Once up by the school I stopped to view the hub of my teenage life.
Now standing as an estate agent there was once a place so full of wonder and togetherness it is hard to fathom it has gone.
St Michaels Guest house had a prefound impact on all areas of life, It needs a separate blog which will follow. Any how, whilst on this indulgent journey I had a call from Andy. I have known Andy for 25 years and we speak infrequently on account of the fact that we are both lazy and poor at maintaining contact, however when we do, it is like a time vortex takes us back to a point where we worked, drank and shared everything – including a few girlfriends over a few years.
Andy called to say one of the old gang was in town from Singapore for a night, let’s meet for a beer.this was a no brainier.
The last time I saw Jasper he had long hair and smelt of josticks, not to mention the fact he was an excellent drummer in the mould of a cross between John Bonham and Animal from the Muppets. Jasper is now a very respectable teacher, though I’m please to say he still has a mischievous glint in his eye.Over the course of the evening we worked out that my eldest son is now five years younger than I was the last time I saw Jasper. Time has a twisted sense of humour.
Also present for this one off, Martin ( a real gent now with his own successful business, new wife and Merc) and lovely Martha who I have not seen for as long as Jasper. It is funny how so much time can pass without speaking to each other but it all seems so natural. We were sat in the Kings Arms, scene of many a legendary tale from our teenage years and bar the presence of more than a few grey hairs and a competitive view of crows feet – it really could have been any time between 1988-95.
How glorious and how bitter sweet, Bob Dylan’s dream sums it up nicely:
With haunted hearts through the heat and cold
We never thought we could ever get old
We thought we could sit forever in fun
But our chances really was a million to one
As easy it was to tell black from white
It was all that easy to tell wrong from right
And our choices were few and the thought never hit
That the one road we traveled would ever shatter and split