diamond geezer

 Friday, June 29, 2018

In a heatwave week, I've been out drinking every day.

It's time for one of my infrequent meetings with BestMateFromWork. He started in the job earlier than I did, and is somehow still there, to his mixed delight and sorrow. We plump for a geranium-fronted pub in Marylebone, thankfully just as they turn off the big-screen World Cup match and switch the audio to Africa by Toto. The pub does not sell Becks. We find a seat in the empty alcove beside the bar, only to be joined shortly afterwards by a gentleman whose usual hideaway this is. There is much to discuss, including the moving of house, the construction of shed, and the impending of marriage. Discussing the minutiae of work is generally off the menu, plus he's now working from home so there isn't as much gossip as there would have been previously. BMFW drinks fast, always has, but I'm pleased to be keeping up by matching pints with bottles. As 7pm ticks round the football is turned back on, and our neighbouring cider drinker switches into excitable mode, offering unwanted tactical advice and cursing the referee's less convincing decisions. He has no off switch. Through the window I spot a well-known BBC weatherman, post-shift, in shorts and purple trainers, supping sequential beers at the adjacent outside table. My surprise is compounded when I spot that his drinking partner is a former BBC weatherman, whose name I can't initially remember. I bet they're discussing all things meteorological, and more, but a pane of glass safeguards their conversation from us, and ours from them. Two packets of freakishly flavoured crisps sustain us. My hiccups begin during the fifth bottle, so that's where we wrap things up, walking out of the pub just before the twin screen footballing drama climaxes. Cheers, thanks, until next time. I spend the entire journey home trying, and mostly failing, to keep my diaphragm from involuntarily contracting.

It's time for this week's trip round to BestMate's for dinner. It's good to catch up, plus he finds it a good excuse to stop talking to America on the computer for work. At this time of year I enjoy my walk down the Greenway to get there, and tonight's blue skies are cracking, but it is the first time I've been stopped by two badged Mormons along the way. They get short shrift. I arrive within one minute of the allotted time, politely late rather than early, and hike up to the flat. Dinner is in the pan, and partly chopped in bowls to one side. Life is good, indeed BestMate had a bit of an unexpected triumph at the embassy last week, so tonight's beverage option has been upped. Normally a bottle of wine comes out of the fridge, or cupboard, depending, but this time a bottle of the fizzy stuff emerges. We still drink the stuff out of crappy tumblers, of course, all the decent glasses having been unaccountably smashed. There is much to discuss, including the de-greying of beards, the taking of holiday and the Ubering of cheese. Easily his best anecdote is how he ended up going bowling on Sunday night with a random former member of the cast of EastEnders. Eventually the spaghetti gets added, and a fine meal is delivered by tray to the sofa. We end up watching some tacky repackaged drama on a high-numbered satellite channel, then something newer but no more highbrow on a former terrestrial. I don't usually get the chance, so every commercial break is spent slagging off the adverts to an audience. A dish of profiteroles emerges for afters, confirming the specialness of the day. And when the full moon has risen high above the rooftops, and the Uber with the box of cheese finally arrives, I take my leave. My journey home requires public transport, rather than the Greenway at dusk, and is thankfully entirely hiccup-free.

I had been planning to go out for a meal with my Dad. Instead it turns out that, if you live in a Norfolk village and are over a certain age, a communal lunch of decent size is served up every Wednesday, after which there is no need to partake of a serious meal for several hours. We head instead to the supermarket to buy food appropriate for later, and just for a change I nudge a bottle of Becks into the trolley. The East Anglian countryside looks dazzling under a bright blue sky, the dry fields more golden than green, and with a welcoming breeze to take the edge off. Once back at home I locate my favourite mug on the shelf and fill it with tea. The cleaning lady has left me a note asking if I wouldn't mind climbing up onto the worktop to clean the upper half of the kitchen windows. The tomatoes need watering. There is much to discuss, including the mending of printers, the whiteness of shirts and the precise whereabouts of a physiotherapist. The afternoon passes. The hosepipe needs moving. Broad beans are shucked. Only when the requirements of a radio producer's email have been dealt with can a start be made on dinner, which involves fish and crinkle-cut oven chips, plus veg. My bottle of Becks can only be opened with the aid of the family's ancient bottle opener, which was also once used to pierce tins of evaporated milk, and which I eventually manage to locate in the rear section of the cutlery drawer. From the local news we learn that the Royal Norfolk Show has been a big success, and that Danny Boyle is filming crowd scenes in Gorleston. Sufficient crockery has been dirtied for the dishwasher to be fired up, for a change, and a Magnum awaits in the freezer for later.

My uncle's funeral has been an unexpectedly moving affair, the chief surprise being his coffin's arrival to the strains of Bat Out of Hell by Meatloaf. For the wake we reconvene to the village pub, just up the road from the nuclear power station. The downstairs function room is ours for the afternoon, and somewhat rammed, making it hard for the bar staff to emerge with plates of sandwiches, crisps and sausage rolls. An evocative selection of photos is on display, including one showing my uncle grinning outside a 60s holiday chalet, and a family group dressed in fashions that can only be from 1988 (plus or minus twelve months). A vase of flowers topples and has to be mopped up. Drinks are served, mostly in pints or teacups. The throng splits into family and former work colleagues, the latter being the larger group, which seems highly appropriate in the circumstances. I get the opportunity to talk to family members I haven't seen since the last funeral, or in four cases have never met at all, despite being relatively close. There is much to discuss, including Tottenham's new stadium, what the green bits in the sausage rolls were, and that lovely singing by the granddaughter. The two youngest attendees dash off to hang from the climbing equipment rather than have to keep talking to the adults. A veil of cloud rolls over. My aunt is taking everything in her stride, having put down the box of tissues she was clutching earlier, and everyone agrees we really ought to meet up sooner rather than waiting for some other unspoken event to occur.

If my two other aunts are reading, see you down the pub for lunch.

<< click for Newer posts

click for Older Posts >>

click to return to the main page

...or read more in my monthly archives
Jan19  Feb19
Jan18  Feb18  Mar18  Apr18  May18  Jun18  Jul18  Aug18  Sep18  Oct18  Nov18  Dec18
Jan17  Feb17  Mar17  Apr17  May17  Jun17  Jul17  Aug17  Sep17  Oct17  Nov17  Dec17
Jan16  Feb16  Mar16  Apr16  May16  Jun16  Jul16  Aug16  Sep16  Oct16  Nov16  Dec16
Jan15  Feb15  Mar15  Apr15  May15  Jun15  Jul15  Aug15  Sep15  Oct15  Nov15  Dec15
Jan14  Feb14  Mar14  Apr14  May14  Jun14  Jul14  Aug14  Sep14  Oct14  Nov14  Dec14
Jan13  Feb13  Mar13  Apr13  May13  Jun13  Jul13  Aug13  Sep13  Oct13  Nov13  Dec13
Jan12  Feb12  Mar12  Apr12  May12  Jun12  Jul12  Aug12  Sep12  Oct12  Nov12  Dec12
Jan11  Feb11  Mar11  Apr11  May11  Jun11  Jul11  Aug11  Sep11  Oct11  Nov11  Dec11
Jan10  Feb10  Mar10  Apr10  May10  Jun10  Jul10  Aug10  Sep10  Oct10  Nov10  Dec10 
Jan09  Feb09  Mar09  Apr09  May09  Jun09  Jul09  Aug09  Sep09  Oct09  Nov09  Dec09
Jan08  Feb08  Mar08  Apr08  May08  Jun08  Jul08  Aug08  Sep08  Oct08  Nov08  Dec08
Jan07  Feb07  Mar07  Apr07  May07  Jun07  Jul07  Aug07  Sep07  Oct07  Nov07  Dec07
Jan06  Feb06  Mar06  Apr06  May06  Jun06  Jul06  Aug06  Sep06  Oct06  Nov06  Dec06
Jan05  Feb05  Mar05  Apr05  May05  Jun05  Jul05  Aug05  Sep05  Oct05  Nov05  Dec05
Jan04  Feb04  Mar04  Apr04  May04  Jun04  Jul04  Aug04  Sep04  Oct04  Nov04  Dec04
Jan03  Feb03  Mar03  Apr03  May03  Jun03  Jul03  Aug03  Sep03  Oct03  Nov03  Dec03
 Jan02  Feb02  Mar02  Apr02  May02  Jun02  Jul02 Aug02  Sep02  Oct02  Nov02  Dec02 

eXTReMe Tracker
jack of diamonds
Life viewed from London E3

» email me
» follow me on twitter
» follow the blog on Twitter
» follow the blog on RSS

my flickr photostream