Lovely weather again yesterday. Here in the wilds of northern England we have enjoyed a fortnight of golden days as Summer reluctantly passes her baton to Autumn. I would have been out walking somewhere - plodding along yet more miles of public footpath and quiet lane. However, socialisation got in the way.
At ten in the morning we met up with four other sixty somethings in "Coffika" - a refurbished coffee shop on Ecclesall Road. We didn't leave there till just before midday. There were Frances's in-laws - Cheryl and Pedr and old friends Linda and David. We rabbited away happily and at one point I was prompted to tell the story of my brother Paul's death in 2010, including the traditional Irish wake and the funeral phases. Ten years and it still seems like a dream. Why can't I speak to him on the telephone?
There was a three hour gap before the next event listed on my crammed social calendar. In that gap I ate a peppered salami and cucumber sandwich and visited a picture framery to arrange the framing of a tea poster that Frances and Stewart brought back from their honeymoon in Sri Lanka. It will be her thirty second birthday present yet in spite of the quoted price, the frame will not be crafted from precious metal. Ah well, you're only thirty two once.
Three o'clock found me in the beer garden of "The Hammer and Pincers" waiting for Mick, Mike and Danny. Another two hours of happy conversation lubricated not by coffee but by foaming pints of Stones best bitter. I have been meeting up regularly with Mick and Mike for twenty five years now. Ex-policeman Danny is a more recent addition and he's nice enough. It's good to be at ease with people you like - just being yourself as the talk flows along like a Peak District stream. Nothing to prove.