Good friends make you happy
It's a balmy spring evening when I meet up with my old school friend, Susie. "My mother sends her love," I tell her, as we stand hugging in the courtyard of the Royal Academy of Arts, which bizarrely is closed suddenly on account of a structural fault discovered in the Sackler Gallery. "I think she will always think of you as a little eleven-year-old-girl."
She laughs. "I will always think of me as a little eleven-year-old-girl!" she says.
That's it, I think. That's why old friends are so important, they remind us of who we used to be, perhaps of who we still are deep down: little eleven-year-old-girls, or boys, or anything in between.
I remind Susie of the bassoon story (two blog posts back). She doesn't remember it and nearly wets herself laughing (she's had four children) as we stroll off arm in arm, looking for somewhere else to eat. She reminds me about our charismatic, slightly mad, French teacher, Miss Coleman, who used to sing us the days of the week and the months of the year in French. Apparently one day Miss Coleman hit her over the head with a French textbook in a vocab test, and I laughed. I don't remember that. I do remember sitting in Susie's bedroom listening to The Pretenders, Brass in Pocket, watching her put make-up on, thinking she was the prettiest girl I knew. I also remember going to her house to collect her to go to a school disco, dressed up to the nines in a new dress I bought in town that afternoon and being aghast when she opened the door and was not wearing her new dress as she had promised but jeans and a flowery top, again. She says she still remembers the look on my face. We stop reminiscing for a moment and look at each other now, two grown women, definitely not off to a school disco, walking along the pavement in Piccadilly, she wearing jeans with a flowery top, me in a dress, then we fall about laughing. Plus ça change, as Miss Coleman would say.
A newly minted spring has finally sprung in south London, my favourite season. The only downside is my accompanying hay fever, which apparently is increasingly common at my time of life.
I was meant to go to Guy's Hospital for an allergy trial but never got round to it. Not just for my allergy to tree pollen but my allergy to raw apples and pears as well, and various other random fruit. But I've found a solution myself: I eat tomatoes and radishes instead, tons of them. Did you know that 100 grams of radish contains 18% of your recommended daily dose of vitamin C? I eat about eight a day. My grandparents used to serve them for tea, fresh out of the garden, with slices of bread and butter and a bit of salt. I would visit them every day after school because I liked their company and there they would be, watching Countdown, with their pot of tea and cucumber sandwiches, or fresh radishes. For years my love of radishes had to be kept under wraps because they were only available in summer but now they're here all year round in Waitrose and Lidl, and no doubt in Sainsbury's as well but I never go in there. Have you noticed? In all colours, even wild ones. I eat them constantly. Sometimes without bread and butter. Sometimes even without salt. I'm that crazy.
Love E x
P.S. That's 'un radis' in French, just to keep Miss Coleman happy.