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Monday, December 22, 2014

Pub regulars

I met Hazel when I was about eleven years old, and haven't yet managed to shake her off.

Some would suggest I haven't tried that hard - in fact, when she emigrated to New Zealand, I booked a plane ticket and went and visited her almost immediately. But, I maintain I was just checking she was really gone, and that she wasn't just lying to get attention.

We have remained firm friends throughout the last two and a half decades. As you will see, we have blossomed from awkward-looking teenagers, right through to awkward-looking adults.

This was our school trip to Coventry Cathedral (the glamour), 1993. We look like an even gayer version of The Wizard of Oz. If it hadn't been filmed in technicolor. Lot of grey in that uniform. Hazel and I on the far right. Not in a Nazi way.

School trip to London, 1994. We could wear our own clothes, and for me that could only mean one thing: double denim. Hazel and I on the right again.

We didn't get any more mature as adults, unfortunately, though we learned to dress a bit better.

When we were about 15 years old, at a very academic school together (it mostly consisted of homework, shouting, and shouting about homework), we had fairly similar lives. This mostly involved homework. Playing an orchestral instrument was seen as borderline rebellious (it wasn't - strictly speaking - homework). My parents thought I was sad and needed to get a life. They were probably right, but I'm not sure Mrs Nunn's offer, as reported in my diary, was realistic, legal or helpful:

"Mum says I need to get out more. She has offered to get me a fake ID and drive me and a friend to a nightclub. Or to join Young Farmers."

To this day I am not sure what Young Farmers is, but in my mind - associated with nightclubs as Mrs Nunn clearly did - I imagine it to be a hotbed of hard house and hardcore humping.

Anyway, on one such enforced night out, Hazel and I made a pact, the type that 15 year-olds make - that we would meet up in 20 years time, at the same pub (Peggy's Bar in Loughborough, known primarily not for the quality of its drinks nor its ambiance, but its willingness to serve girls who had very recently turned 15).

I particularly like the fact that I passively-aggressively wrote on the beermat, "Don't worry, I'll remind you!" In actual fact, it was Hazel who kept the beermat, scanned it in and realised that it was in fact this year that we were due to meet.

After having ascertained that Peggy's Bar no longer exists, and we both now live in the South East, we agreed to meet in Central London instead. I tried to find a Peggy's Bar in London, to no avail. After which, I started looking at Loughborough Junction (too far away), and eventually settled on Efes Restaurant, which I decided on because of Efes Kebab Shop that we used to go to for chips with mayonnaise after a night out drinking 20/20.

A lovely night was had by both of us. Mrs Nunn did not have to drive us there, and whilst we fully intend to make sure that we see each other approximately every month from now on, as usual, we have also made plans for twenty years' time.

Well, it's traditional.

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