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First foray into town

August 5, 2022

Wake up ridiculously early (6:45am) and cannot get back to sleep. Give up at 7:15, get up, put coffee on and head out into the garden with my book. It’s going to be another crazy hot day. I may have missed London’s heat dome with 40+ degrees in July, but the temperature is still getting well into the 30s. Glad I packed the right clothes.

I have a get together later in the day, but plenty of time to go with Rowan and Matt when they take the dogs for a walk. Getting Buster, who’s happy in the garden, out through the front door is a challenge involving much coaxing and a number of treats. He’s shaking in the car, but as soon as we arrive at the Shooter’s Hill woods he is happy as Larry. (Whoever Larry* is.)

Gidget, bless her, manages to get around a treat in her little canine wheel chair.

A stop at the M&S food hall on the way back. Rowan buys a baguette and a few other bits. I am on a different mission. 

Look at all that rosé! Look at the varieties! I am in summer wine paradise. Something my friend Angelika and I once dubbed la vie en rosé. Yes, you can find rosé on the island, but it’s pretty bloody slim pickings. Still, sparkling, whatever. While I am here, I will be drinking rosé. Lots of rosé!

Back to the house where I swap my trainers for sandals before heading into town.

One of a number of surprising things that happened in 2020 (and I’m not even talking about the pandemic – it was a year of jaw dropping surprises) was, as a result of Little Richard’s death – long story) finding myself back in touch with Galpers, a man I hadn’t seen or spoken to in 42 years. Oddly, whilst I had almost no idea what had happened to him during the intervening decades, it turned out that he knew, because he’d seen me on the news, that I’d been working for Greenpeace and Free Tibet. He’d also, without sticking his head above the parapet, somehow stumbled across and was following this blog. (Given how things ended between us it is understandable that he might hesitate to put in an appearance.)

A couple of very long emails caught us up and we’ve stayed in touch since.

He’s one of the many people I wanted to see during this visit, so I arranged a piss up today with him and some other old friends: Chris, whom I haven’t see in nearly as long and Giles, last seen at least 20 years ago.

A pub in central London has been chosen specifically because it has outdoor seating. 

Unfortunately, come the day Galpers can’t make it. In his twenties and thirties he’d raced (and crashed) cars and motorbikes. Those crashes have caught up with him with the result that his mobility has been severely restricted and he’s often in quite a bit of pain. There was simply no way he could make the train journey to and navigate his way around London. Whilst he’s the first to admit he only has himself to blame, it still sucks, as does not getting to see him.

Giles, my long ago flatmate, colleague and friend, was also a no show. He’d failed to write it on the calendar when the arrangement was made a couple of months ago on via Facebook messenger (which, it transpires, it seldom checks) and completely forgot. Shame not seeing him, too.

That left Chris. For a while back in our twenties we were the very best of friends who shared multiple adventures, including one mad night out on the town with the Tiswas gang. (A story in and of itself, which included Lenny Henry sticking his tongue down my throat.) Our birthdays are only a few days apart and so joint birthday parties made sense.

God, was I ever that skinny?

Well, the boys missed out. What a laughter-filled afternoon of catching up we had. 

_____________________________

Just checked. Apparently Larry was Larry Foley, an Australian boxer who never lost a fight. His last fight was in the 1870s, he was paid the vast sum of £1000 and won the fight – “hence as happy as Larry”.

From → UK 2022

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