Sunday, 17 March 2013

Bite each day to the core

As I left my daughter Emily at her student house, I felt the usual natural feelings of slight sadness and loss. However, as I drove home, I realised that I was also pray to another emotion- nostalgia.
Emily is blissfully happy in her second year, sharing a house with five other drama students. The tales of their antics, the photographs I get to see and the very smell of their home, transported me back to a golden time in my life. In 1982 I was living in Ferncroft Avenue in North London, reading English at London University and making the most of every minute, day and night.

My reminiscent mood has stayed with me, so today I dug out my old photograph albums and brought together two happy lives- thirty years apart.

To start with, I should let you know that our house was known as "The House of Ill Repute"

( in our costumes for a Brecht play, before you get too worried)

Theirs is simply called "Brian"...

We seemed to spend most of our lives in fancy dress- going to dozens of parties

Stone Age Vamp

As do they.


Goodness knows the theme of this one!

I think we can guess this party

Every day brought a new chance to dress up and laugh at ourselves. This next photograph is my closest friend and room-mate Gillie, who we dressed up in an approximation of the extremes of 1980 fashion- all because she was dyeing her hair and had wrapped a rather large towel around it as a turban...

One evening Emily's housemates dug out every hat they could find...and wore them in character.

As always, there are private jokes-

The contents of a cupboard cling-filmed and guarded by an ancient Nan bread at Emily's house

 And rituals

Gillie and I set up a chess board. Each and every man we knew was on that board and we solemnly moved the pieces every day, depending upon their conduct towards us!

One day we made a huge poster but were disconcerted to find that the paint we used was permanent.

One riotous evening, Emily somehow ended up balancing most of the kitchen's utensils on her head...

Emily and her gang are lucky to have a garden to enjoy the recent snow

We did not but that didn't stop us sitting out on the window sills to enjoy the cool of the summer nights

We were always up to something. One of my most memorable pranks was holding a Christmas Dinner in the middle of Whitestone Pond on a very cold day in March. This event was complete with butler, wind-up gramophone and carol singers...

Emily has had her chilly moments- the boiler broke down for several days over the last freezing spell

We too were such close friends, there was nothing we didn't share or do together

There was often a gathering together at supper time

And it is the same at 'Brian' too

The decor may have changed

Ellen and Gillie in our room

Ems in their home-made fort

But there is so much the same.

One of my strongest memories is awakening early to the bright sunshine of an early summer morning. I lay in bed and realised that this was a unique period in my life. I had been given a one-off chance to live without care, to study and mix with so many like-minded people. I asked myself  "was I making the most of this wonderful gift". I lay and pondered and finally came up with the answer "yes, I was".
I could honestly say I was making the most of every single moment, on all levels. I have never quite been able to say the same since but I'm so glad I 'seized the day' during that wonderful, magical year of 1982.

My friend Gillie and I enjoyed every minute

And, from the looks of things-

Emily does too!

(With many thanks to Emily and her friends for the photographs I've snaffled- please don't borrow or re-use  them or any of mine! )