On Wednesday, I went to meet an old chum I'd known since the fifties. We were at school together.
After a couple of hours of delightful banter in the quiet, friendly pub, we shook hands and agreed that a return match was going to be a necessity.
On the way home, I was musing how often something like this happens these days, and chums meeting up was becoming a rarer occasion. I hadn't seen Tim since he'd announced that he was retiring, and was going to live in France with his lovely wife. When I saw that, I just ticked off another mate I'd probably never see again, but what a surprise to learn that it wasn't what they wanted, so they came back home to live, and are now very happy with their lot.
Back in the sixties, after we'd gone our separate ways, I lost touch with so many people, as some went to Australia, some to South Africa etc., but really didn't want to do any of that, as I probably didn't have the nerve, certainly didn't have the money or qualifications, and above all, really liked it all here, especially in London.
How all this has changed. Mrs O'Blene and I decided long ago that we'll never go to London again, especially after the 'manic mare Khan' is sitting there making a disaster-zone of the place, so it's back to the roots of the village, and it'll stay that way!
So, back to Tim. After losing touch, I was one day reading 'The Estates Gazette', which is required reading in property circles, and suddenly, there was a photo of my chum, explaining the vagaries of some deal or other in The City! A phone call later, we thought a good glass of red would go down well, and it became a great regular meeting of minds for the eighties. So that's a twenty year break from school days.
We tried doing some business around 2003, when things were going downhill because of Blair/Brown, and then came mutual retirement and Tim's great escape, so now, after all that time, we get back to laughing at spidery writing in my collection of the old school mags, photos of great contemporaries, memories of unrequited lust after the assistant matrons, the joy of seeing notes describing a sports success/failure etc., and it all feels bloody good!