Whoever said that time travel doesn't exist has never once been to a school reunion. The very act of pushing open a door of a nondescript bar in the centre of Reading hurtled me back thirty odd years as I came face to face with fellow alumni of Chiltern Edge School, South Oxfordshire.
To my own eternal shame I had been spectacularly shit at keeping in touch with any of them. I met the future Mrs Warrick when I was nineteen and the light of young love sometimes has a way of darkening previous friendships. Foregoing University meant that a lot of my friends vanished to the four corners of the isles. I had a job, with a mortgage and bills following quickly afterwards. These are some pretty poor arse excuses I know. The bottom line is that I didn't make enough effort to stay friends with these people. There is little point feeling any great guilt about this. Life has a habit of tugging people in different directions. Sometimes this brings unexpectedly remarkable humans into your path, but sometimes it sets friends on different currents and with a gentle nudge, drifts them apart.
So as the door opened I was faced with a group of people that, without exception, I had not seen for over twenty five years. Most of the faces were remarkably familiar - some not so much - most names followed swiftly afterwards - some needed a gentle reminder. But as we all spoke, laughed, drank, remembered, laughed some more and reminisced, a peculiar filter clouded my eyes. We were all middle aged, yes, and remarkably well preserved I might add. But over time the childhood versions of ourselves strangely superimposed themselves. It is entirely possible that this was due to the increasing amount of lager I was consuming. But I am nostalgic enough to hope that this was my natural reaction to a genuine journey back in time.
Everyone had lived very different lives, with a life's worth of different stories to tell. But most importantly were the years and years of shared memories. Some of these again were instantly memorable - some took a degree of dredging - and some had sadly been completely forgotten. Some were also variations of the memories that I had held so dearly. But all of these intricacies, all of these twists and turns served to deepen our shared childhood. Real life myths and legends.
The evening wore on and I started marvelling at the effort that people had gone to. Vast distances had been travelled, from every corner of the globe. This thing also needs organising. People to take a drunken conversation and to turn that into real life magic. I tip every one of my metaphoric hats in your directions. Each and every one of them conspired to create an evening that can never ever be repeated.
Standing outside that door of the nondescript bar in Reading I tried to imagine different versions of how the evening might pan out. I am delighted to say that none of those imaginary variations came remotely close to the fun that I had. Nostalgia is something that I could very easily get addicted to.