I’ve had one of those weekends which flies by and lasts forever. A weekend that was close and familiar, but a million miles away from the everyday. A weekend in which I did loads, but also very little. In short, it was bliss.
I’ve been away, you see, with eight lovely friends to a lovely place. The story of how I know these lovely people is rather convoluted. Sit down and take a load off. I’ll talk you through it.
I currently own a Nissan Figaro, which, for the uninitiated, looks like this …
… and am a member of an on-line owners forum which is packed full of enthusiasts, top tips and, from time to time, an arrangement to meet somewhere for a run out in convoy, top down, shades on, and ready to pose.
Through these meetings I have met some truly extraordinary people. I’ve met a lady who drives her Fig whilst listening to death metal music so loud that it scares her skinhead bouncer boyfriend and a man who lives almost exclusively on Strongbow. I’ve met the only man in England who thinks a John Motson sheepskin coat looks good (other than, presumably, John Motson), and a couple who once did the deed on the giant willy at Cerne Abbas. Really, really extraordinary people.
But setting aside these loveable misfits, I’ve made some pals. It seems strange to think that it’s less than a year since we met, and yet now I can’t imagine not knowing people who’ve come to be wonderful friends. Funny, isn’t it, how sometimes you just click?
When I was younger, my friends were the people I saw everyday. I wasn’t very discerning. I don’t think that most teenagers are. It was a question of convenience, although of course I didn’t see it that way at the time. I spent time with them therefore they were my friends therefore I spent time with them. It’s hardly surprising then, that very few of my 1995 friends are still friends now.
These days I’m much better at recognising the people who I want to spend time with and who I hope would like to spend time with me. The fact that I won’t see them every day, every week, or even every month is irrelevant. The good friends – the really good ones who I’ll still see in ten, twenty, thirty years, are worth setting time aside for, and travelling to see. If the effort of a train ride or booking a table for dinner is too much, then let’s be honest, these aren’t people you’d call on in an emergency. If, each year, you write on the Christmas card “we must meet up next year” then really, you’re not going to.
I’m not diminishing the old friendships. The friendships of old that stand the test of time are truly brilliant things. It’s important that there are some people in your life who know your history. But it’s as important (more important probably) that there are people who’ll know your future.
And so, nine of us, with, initially, nothing more in common than the car we own, went to Dorset for four days of eating, drinking, walking, sitting, talking, playing and dozing, and it was heaven to spend time in such very valuable company.
And do you know something? I didn’t even drive. I went by train. The car’s not the reason, you see. It’s just the vessel. The rest is down to us.