Once upon a time in Romford, back in the early seventies, a bunch of us in the 6th form got together and took over the management of the school magazine. We were Vaughan, Pete Davis, Bob Windsor, Talat, Wilf and yours truly. After The Mag we ran the school discos, and organised an end of school revue… In our own suburban way we were rebels, man. We were never gonna conform.
Needless to say both Bob and I ended up working for banks, while Vaughan ended up at Ford.
I lost touch with most of the guys when I moved up to Sheffield after my last A Level exam. When I first returned down south from Sheffield in 1985/86 I attempted to hook up with Bob Windsor, only to learn that hed been transferred to Tokyo. Never mind, we managed to meet up on my various trips to Japan over the years.
As I recall the last time Id met up with Graham and Tony was on one of Bob Windsors earlier visits home, in April 1987 I think, just before my thirtieth birtday. Talat Id met up with a few weeks later, when Val had arranged a surprise flying lesson with him as my birthday present; and Bob Windsor and I caught up with each other on one of my trips to Tokyo in 1998. We got very very drunk at a Karaoke bar in Roppongi. Another of the guys, Arthur Winn, had left school after the fifth form, but he lives in South Woodham Ferrers and weve bumped in to each other.
When the jungle drums announced that Bob Windsor was coming back to the UK for one of his occasional visits, the suggestion of getting together for a few bers and a curry was made. Some of the guys arranged to meet up for a round of golf (Im with Mark Twain on that one) but the idea of a ruby was almost irresistable.
I started calculating… the total period since Id seen some of these guys totalled something like ninety years, jeez, sometimes I feel like Im getting old!
The venue was Chutney Joes in Brentwood, the evening kicked off well and just got better, within minutes we were comfortable in each others company, dredging up the names of former class members, the girls from the school year below us, and the more eccentric teachers.
The meal, while almost a distraction, was excellent and while Arthur and Talat left after the meal (Talat had an early flight the following morning) Bob, Tony, Graham and I adjourned to a nearby pub to continue our conversations over a drink.
Talat suggested we arrange a boys golf trip to his place in Marbella next spring (Ill pack my Mark Twain books); while Im sceptical that that will happen, I certainly hope we all get together a bit sooner than twenty years time.