On this day of remembrance I’m easily remembering those we should never forget but finding it a real struggle to remember what happened last night.
But before I try to make some sense of all that, I want to say a few words about what was quite an unusual day all-round. It started off at the doctor’s, where it felt odd to be on a Saturday morning. Saturdays are made for doing things that make you need to see a doctor, but on another day. However, there I was, keen but scared to hear if I’m still healthy after six months living on roll-ups, cheap plonk and pot noodle.
But there was no need to be scared; my liver is functioning perfectly (a miracle) my blood pressure fine (incredible) my heart-rate even (even more incredible) and my cholesterol levels ridiculously OK. There’s a slightly high fat content in my blood, which the doctor put down to drinking and wanted to know how many units I imbibe a week.
“I won’t lie to you,” I said, then lied.
What she said was “That’s still too many,” but what she thought was “Liar.”
“I know,” I said, slightly ashamed.
“It’s something you need to look at,” she said.
“I will,” I promised, “but I probably won’t look at it on a Saturday.”
And she laughed, which as they say is always the best medicine.
To be serious I was delighted with the diagnosis and realised that all these months haven’t taken their toll, that I’m reasonably fit and healthy for my age, and that the Ottermobile conked out before I did.
I wrote the other week about doing some lumberjack work for my friend Gary, but today it was Kay (one of the girls from school) who benefited from my DIY skills. It’s great to catch up again with Kay, she’s a very kind person and a Grammar School legend, a vital cog of this reunion machine who seems to remember more than anyone else. She wanted some carpentry doing and when I’d done it she offered money, which I refused to take.
“But you need money,” she said.
“I do but I need friends more,” I said, “I’m doing someone who deserves a favour a favour.”
“Are you sure?” she said.
“Yes,” I said, “just remember me in your will.”
And she laughed, which is always the best remuneration.
After a quick wash and brush-up we were eagerly heading to the pub, which is where I lost my memory. I think it was a mini school reunion in a boozer called The Bowling Green or something. There were, I think, ten of us: Mandy, Kay, Julie, Cathy, Sue, Rob, Paul, Kevin, myself (I think) and Iggy popped in.
I remember feeling great to see some old mates again and being impressed that despite so many years draining away, there was so much beauty on show. The women looked good too. The beautiful Mandy had baked a cake, Sue came all the way from Amsterdam, Julie and Cathy were funny as I remember.
I recall being delighted to see the lads again too – Paul was a huge friend of mine (after leaving school we worked together [or turned up] at Crewe Works) and Iggy was the life and soul of school lessons – he and I terrorised a good many teachers who lost sleep and eventually lost their minds. It was his birthday I think and he looked great, not a day over 60. I asked the barman to get me a candle for the cake and think he could only find a sparkler so we made do with that and sang happy birthday.
After that I think I vaguely remember the pub running out of wine because we’d supped it all. Then I think we played pool and Iggy was so pissed he couldn’t see his balls. And I can’t be entirely sure but I think he picked up my jacket at the end of the night and I said “That’s not yours it’s far too expensive.”
And finally, if I remember rightly, with our blood more fattened and heartbeats healthy, we plaited our legs through Nantwich, talking to complete strangers and remembering how good it feels to have friends.
So all in all it must’ve been a great night. But today, while I’m feeling rough, and remembering those who gave their life for me, I can’t for the life of me remember how I got home.