We were invited out to a 50th birthday party last night, hosted at the local rowing club on the river – the same rowing club where you might typically have found Katherine Granger and Steve Redgrave in years past. I seems ridiculous, but I have lived nearby for seventeen years, and never set foot in the place until yesterday.
The invite stated “dress to impress” in bold lettering, so I dug out my suit, polished my shoes, and pressed a shirt – my other half pulled a “going out out” dress from the wardrobe, and got Miss 16 to help with her makeup. The mile or so walk into town took rather a long time, because apparently high heels are painful to walk any distance in – which is why a pair of flat shoes were in a bag slung over my shoulder.
We arrived precisely when we had been asked to – we’re kind of sticklers for that, and laughed with other friends who arrived within moments of each other – all watching the clock as they walked across the bridge to the rowing club. I busied myself with buying drinks and taking photos of the river while more and more friends arrived. It’s funny – I never think of myself as having many friends, but I guess last night disproved that. I said as much at the end of the evening – that we have lucked into the best circle of friends over the years, and everybody laughed – presuming I was drunk.
I’m not sure how it happened, but five hours flew past in the blink of an eye. We drank enough to put a rhinoceros to sleep, talked about life the universe and everything, recalled countless memories of our collective children’s adventures, and danced like we never had a single lesson (no, really – none of us have ever had a single lesson – it was evident).
I promised myself earlier in the evening that I wouldn’t drink too fast early on. A friend burst out laughing when he saw me walking away from the bar with a third drink in the first hour. At least I had the wisdom to stay on one drink all night – the locally brewed IPA. I’m really not sure how many I had – perhaps five or six in total – and have absolutely no idea how I have no hangover this morning. I can only guess the pasta I pigged at dinner-time – before we left the house – had done it’s job.
There’s something about walking home from gatherings with friends in the silent streets during the early hours of the morning. As we made our way along the deserted footpaths – my other half now carrying her high heels – we laughed about the friends, conversations and antics of the evening. We giggled about the local builder dropping his drink in the middle of the dance-floor, the photos from the instant photo booth (a genius idea), and the hilarious antics of a certain pretty blonde friend who I described as “somewhat passive aggressive” in her recruitment of dance partners – to which her husband chipped in “I’m not seeing it – I think I might just call it aggressive”. You know what though? We wouldn’t change her – or any of our friends – for the world.