Saturday, 27 July 2013
What a day! I've taken my mate's stuff over to his new digs, in Guildford. You'll remember that he's not been too good, lately (understatement of the century). Anyway, Mrs. B was in London for the day so I borrowed her car and loaded his worldly possessions in the back. We've had them for a couple of months. They've been on our spare bed. I suppose it says a lot when you're 56 years old and your worldly possessions fit on a bed. Someone else's bed, at that. That says just as much. He's lodging with a lady in Merrow, a few miles east of Guildford. It's where I grew up, where he and I met and where he has been the happiest in his life. To him, going back has been like finding a harbour in a storm. A sanctuary. My journey to Guildford from Twyford, Berks, should take an hour. No. 2 1/4 hours, thanks. I had cut across country, to avoid the motorways. So, Ascot, Sunningdale Chobham, past Fairoaks Airport, into Addlestone, Byfleet and then pick up the A3 to Guildford. As I crossed over the M25 at Addlestone it was static and I had a smug smile to myself. 5 minutes later I was stationery and didn't get out of first or second gear for nearly an hour. Finally, crossed over the A3 before getting on it....and it was static. Back round the roundabout, through West Byfleet, Old Woking and Send before picking the A3 back up. Having arranged to be there for 11.30am it was actually 12.45pm when I pulled up. We hugged, unloaded his stuff, had a quick chat, and I had to go. He says he's happier than he was, is looking for work and is settled. I'm pleased. I got back in the car, headed off (a different route, I might add,) and stopped near where I used to live. And sobbed. I need a break from everything that has gone on for the last 3 months. I thought I'd lost him. I realise that I'm exhausted from helping him, from holding it all together when I'm actually falling apart as much as he is. As I drove home, something struck me. Addlestone, West Byfleet, Merrow and Twyford. That's 4 out of the 5 places I've ever lived. Throw in Twickenham, where I was born, and lived until I was 6, and you'd have a full set. I realsied that I'd been yards from almost every front door I've ever lived behind. I don't know why but the realisation cheered me up. I'm pleased my friend is better, however fleeting it may be. But I need a break. I need some time not thinking about Social Services, Council Offices, Mental Health Centres, the Samaritans and the police. I need some time for me. If that sounds selfish, I won't apologise. I know what I need. This wonderful, gorgeous song came on the ipod on the way home. It's Paul Brady's Hawana Way, the story of a trip to Cuba with his friend, Bonnie Raitt. It makes me smile. I turned it way up to 11 and sang my head off.