I fear that this Diamond Jubilee weekend just gone has left me sadly out of sorts with the upheaval and disruption to my regular routines. I accompanied a group of friends to London on Saturday, a lads’ day out. I will admit to having reservations in the run up to the day itself – I don’t generally enjoy the crowds and hectic work-day pace of the city – but I had not been there on a Saturday for many years and never in the company of a group of friends. As it turned out I ended up in a smaller group of three or four for most of the day and by focusing on just this group I was able to insulate myself sufficiently from the many thousands of people all around us – it felt to me as if we were in our own protective bubble.
The day passed so quickly and I had a wonderful time – my companions were good company and all the strangers around barely registered in my mind – I was relaxed and happy, and had one of the best days out ever. The next day, Sunday, was quiet and flat by comparison – I have no clear recollection of it – but Monday brought another social gathering. This time it was a barbecue hosted by another friend, and again I started out with some trepidation because of the number attending: over thirty people, but nearly all of them people I know well.
I needn’t have worried. They were welcoming and genuinely pleased that I had come along and my anxious insecurity was soon forgotten as I joined in the fun. I ended up not going home that night, spending the night at the home of yet another friend where I slept on the sofa – I can scarcely believe that people not only appear not to object to having me around, but even invite me over.
That long weekend is over. But despite my lingering tiredness I have memories of some very enjoyable times, thanks in such a large part to my friends. I cannot overstate the importance that such acceptance has to me – it gives me such a sense of support.