Yesterday I went to lunch at the Green Man in Ringmer with a bunch of people from my college. I think it’s supposed to be a fund raiser these days, as our college is trying to push this concept all around the country, presumably so that we feel positive towards our alma mater and donate them a few pennies. However, we’re just a bunch of people out having a nice time.
Our local group was actually started years ago by a lady called Jill, who is now 86. The idea is that anyone who went to our college and lives in the area can go along, so we are a motley bunch, made even more motley by the fact that they are no longer organised by Jill, but by me. Jill very practically gave up organisation of the event a few years ago on the grounds that the fewer things she was on the critical path to, the less messy things would be when she died.
The other side of being quite a busy person is that it all occasionally gets too much and I go into organisational meltdown. I’ve been very distracted for about a month feeling that although my life is happy and positive and full, there is something missing from it. I’ve been wondering a lot about starting dating again. But every time I think about this, it makes me extremely nervous. Which makes me wonder if I am after all ready for it, even if it is what I think I want. I usually conclude that I am not ready for dating, and just need to widen my social circle to meeting more people, and enjoying life more. And then I feel fed up because it makes me think it’s going to be a really long time until I do meet someone again.
This has all been distracting me and making me feel vaguely pathetic and down. So after I managed to send out the email invitations to the lunch, I meant to phone up those left over. Except I FORGOT to do this and the invitationally challenged ended up having to organise themselves and phone each other up to find out when it was, after which one of them finally got hold of me by phone (which is hard to do as I am often out of the house) to let me know that this was what they had done.
I did start up the lunch feeling very terrible about this.
Anyway, lunch. Dining in an area full of hard surfaces seems to be all the rage nowadays, and is something I have complained about here in the past. On the plus side, it was nice and warm due to the underfloor heating under the pretty stone floor. On the downside, this seems to be the area for banishing large groups and there was another large group apart from us, so the noise was ridiculous. Apart from promising the group that I would remember to ask them all next time, I agreed to ask for the restaurant part and not the conservatory.
They are pretty relaxed at the Green Man about people eating starters instead of main courses, which was a good thing for many members of the group. I had a main course of smoked mackerel salad. It’s difficult to make such a thing really good, or really bad. The mackerel was nice and hot. However I got a whole forest of salad, complete with a whole, large spring onion carved into a sort of tree. I do think salad should be nice and easy to eat, especially when you are out and about in a social group and want to concentrate on what your companions have to say, rather than negotiating your way around your plate. Less floppy and smaller pieces would have been good.
We had a really great time chatting. What I love about our group is that we are all different ages. We are all women, as the college only opened up to men ten years or so before I got there. (Men are invited but tend not to come.) And we are all genuinely interested in each other’s lives. We’ve got a farmer, an artist, an academic, a doctor, amongst others.
Although I’ve been going for years, initially it took me a long time to be brave enough to accept the invitation, because I assumed the group would be full of highly competitive, high achieving women who would wonder what on earth I was doing working for the council as a youth worker. But they aren’t like that at all. They are all really supportive. Also I love hearing about what the college was like in previous generations, especially during the war. Our college grounds were requisitioned for the war effort, so the students were evacuated to a men’s college, which was like a ghost college, with only medical students and the medically unfit left. The rationing was terrible, and there was no free time; after lectures, all the students would go and volunteer their time in various ways, such as visiting and helping the sick and injured. Jill said she wrote this all down for our College’s official chronicle, but when it was published, this aspect of its history was completely omitted, which is a shame.
After the lunch, I did feel a lot better as I’d had a nice time and promised to sort everyone out with proper invitations, in good time next time, and went to take Lovely Daughter #2 in to town to buy some rugby boots, and also some ballet shoes. Our nearest town is the sort of place where you see sights like this:
LD groaned and said, “Oh no, morris dancers. Morris dancers are so annoying. They have all those jangling bells on them.”
The morris dancers were performing in the pedestrian precinct. Although it’s not my thing, I have to say that the music was very nice, not the usual jolly accordions that I associate with Maypoles and morris men, but two women singing unaccompanied, a modern, folky type of arrangement. As we arrived, they were just finishing off, which involved exiting stage left into the Paperchase shop. I wonder what the Saturday staff made of them.
When I got home I was feeling happy that I’d had a nice lunch out, but still generally fed up and undecided. Then I went to check some of my groups and found an invitation to a climbing event next week. I have the second half of my Beginner’s Climbing course tomorrow so will be able to join in a proper climbing session after that. Also the message included an invitation to a night out clubbing in Brighton! So I cheered up and took this as a definite Sign as to what I should do next in my life.
Today I am very happy because for the first time in about a month I am doing NOTHING AT ALL!
This means that I get spend all day doing my all time favourite things: reading, writing and cleaning the house. This is not to say that I would take a night in cleaning the cooker over a night out at the theatre. However, when you’ve been busy every day for the last month, there is something magical about lying in until ten, not having to go anywhere at all, and then just catching up on everything.