Last august 25 years ago I had my fresher week at university. Yes really it was 25 years ago. So coming November I have my 25-year return day at uni, which I will not attend. Simply put all people I want to be in contact with I am in contact with and the program does not bring a smile to my face. What does bring a smile to my face is remembering what happened 25 years ago. That august we had to attend a meeting just for our own degree course. It was not that well organised that event and there I met up with another student to be. She, like me, was a few years older than most and looked in amazement and bewilderment around to the complete chaos in front of her. Very much a similar feeling to what I had. We talked for a while and got on and whenever we met from thereon we talked.
Then in October there is a secondary introduction, where it is in the evening and just your own degree course. She was there again. This time we ended up being the two giggles in the group. We laughed a lot and just were very comfortable around each other. It was the start of a friendship that has survived and lasted over three continents, five countries, three marriages, one de-facto relationship, numerous address and email changes and huge phone bills. She is Miekje (she comments often).
These days she lives in the UK and we do not see each other often. Last time was in London and before that her wedding. This time it was different than the other two times. This time I flew out and was staying with her for two nights. Our mission; the knitting and stitching show at Alexandra Palace. Was it worth it? Yes it was worth it in so many ways.
I got to see where she lives, meet her husband properly. Before now I only met him at their wedding and as we all know hardly the time to really get well acquainted with new people. We got to talk about our hobbies and where we meet. We both like the knitting, she does jewellery and I sew. But also just to generally catch up on our lives. When we arrived at her home on Wednesday evening her husband got us some Chinese food and after that I got myself installed on their huge sleeping couch and slept.
At 7 in the morning we woke up. I was woken in the most luxurious way with a cup of tea to get me goingp. We left for London around 9 and arrived at Alexandra Park around 10 or 10.30-sh We arrived just in time for a tour in the timeline of crewel work which was so much fun. It was already busy and we spend ours in the galleries with the knitting awards and all. We loved it. After a much needed coffee and a nice chat with a lovely old lady we went into the next hall. Oh man I died and gone to heaven. So much stuff, so many things, so much fun!
As we wandered through all the stalls we chatted with each other, but also lots of other people. People with stands, people overhearing us talking in Dutch (and understanding it) catching the word Ravelry and on and on. We had a blast. Around 17.00 we were nearly done with Hall 2. and it was time for our High Tea. I pulled out the ticket and went “Oh fuck” The time stand did not say 17.00 (5pm) but 15.00. Somehow in my mind the 5 had stuck and because the UK often uses am and pm for time denomination I got it wrong. How awful! It as a treat for us and little totally organised me messed up. I felt (and feel) so guilty. We went to have some dinner in the cafe where we earlier had the coffee.
The last hour was even more heavenly. As it was late night opening for the first time ever there were not a lot of people around anymore. We managed to get a good look at the galleries again and get to talk to the artists some more. Really there are some talented people. People that really know their craft as well as having artistic flair. Somewhat exhausted we left around 19.00. And it was cold bitterly cold by then. We arrived back home about an hour later. We then had the sandwiches we’d been carrying around all day :-).
The next day was about sleeping in. I was up earlier than anticipated and ended up reading my magazines (which I left for my friend) and a book. We slowly got around to getting up and went to a lovely little country shop set up where we saw some more beads and had a lovely tea and cake, before I was dropped off at the airport on my way home again. My plane had a delay of half an hour, which if you fly Easyjet means standing in the cattle hall with 250 others. No fun. So when I got off I told SO (who picked me up) that chips and stuff (deep fry) was acceptable. We got some on our way home.
Did I arrive home empty handed? No of course not. I bought some British Wool, some felt, buttons and a closure as well as a leather bag I have to sew together. The latter will be sent to me in a few weeks time. I have some pictures I sharing here.
So all in all a big hug and thanks to my friend of 25 years. It was a great way to celebrate a quarter of a century of friendship.