Is it a positive or negative thing to take a step back in time and visit old haunts with (very) old friends?
The reunion phenomena has been with us for a long time – in this country I suspect it kicked off with Friends Reunited. With this, of course, came tales of one-time lovers getting back together, ancient enmities finally put aside, and the blustering of the successful over the less successful. “I’m a hedge fund manager and I drive an Alfa Romeo.” “I’m a dustman and I drive a dustbin lorry. (But I have more hair than you).”
Reunionists (new word?) marvel at hair loss, spectacles, wobbly bits and the inability to stay up much past 1am let alone fall asleep in a corridor and wake up in the morning feeling fresh as a daisy. Though in all honesty I don’t think I ever managed the fresh as a daisy bit, I was more of the bottom-of-an-ashtray brigade.
I’ve been returning to Winchester each year for five years, meeting up with student friends from the 1980s. And, in all honesty, every time we get together, it’s fantastic. For a single weekend, the years seem to melt away as we potter around the town remembering sneaking around student halls we weren’t supposed to be in, locations where we were just a little bit naughty (there’s a certain tree I can never walk past without blushing), and moments in time that will never be forgotten. Lost loves, lost hearts, lost hours after too many bottles of Rougement Castle English wine in the student union bar.
The pubs I worked in, the Queen Inn and the Black Boy, have no recollection of a former barmaid who was once the life and soul of the bar, who poured generous halves and often had a small one herself thank you very much. But I don’t care if they don’t remember me, I remember them.
Those days were the best. They were also the worst, but now with the wisdom of age we can celebrate the days before responsibility, before kids, before Specsavers.