Imagine the scene if you will. Four middle aged men sat around a table at a suburban curry house. All of them drinking a bit too much beer for a school night. All of them eating food that may well disrupt their not-so-iron constitutions.
The four men are reminiscing about past exploits; berating current practices; dreaming of future adventures. They all worked together - three of them still do. They have seen some change. Faces come and go. With nearly 50 years combined services they know everything inside out; have a view on everything; and by and large repeat a conversation that they have had every year since they first met.
But before you judge this. Consider these people sad, unambitious, deluded, and cowardly. Look down on them as they plough the same furrow; follow the same rat run. Let me correct you for just one second. These people who you might sneer at from behind your popadom are some of the best friends I have.
For as you have no doubt guessed, I am one of those four. And these are the friends that encourage me; that are enthusiastic, interested, challenging, questioning and just downright genuine about any crazy ideas or plans that any of us have. The desire to see at least one of us break free is infectious.
In this evening alone, work was generated, partnerships made and plans forged. Not all of them will succeed. We are all big enough and ugly enough to know that. But there is no sense of envy here, there never has been. I have been guilty of trying out lots of things in my life. As I get older and maybe just a touch wiser, I am learning that doing some of these things with friends not only significantly improves their chances of success, but that collaboration for me really is the 'spice of life' - especially when a curry is involved.