Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Story from two weeks ago: Man loses keys

...Is probably not a headline recently featured in the Jersey Evening Post, but it is that kind of place. Like so many others, we'd have overlooked Jersey if it wasn't for the fact Penny and Mike live there. It's got a kind of parochial, old persons holiday vibe about it (underpinned by unfathomable amounts of bankers' gold). The truth is, of course, very different. Penny and Mike, like their friends, are comfortable and confident people, the kind of comfort and confidence that is bred from health, (relative) wealth and the obvious safety of a small island.

It's an odd place (that's odd as in, not like most places), the island is a myriad of roads and it takes an age to get anywhere, you sometimes feel that you're being drive around in circles whilst someone sets up the next destination - "OK, they're gone, take down the beach front surfers cafe, and put up the sports centre". On Saturday I sat in a pub all afternoon with Mike's Hockey buddies, old school friends of his, one of whom I met three years ago, the others I didn't know at all. On paper an afternoon with strangers would have filled me with dread, but we sat discussing the nuances of their five-a-side league and the politics of Jersey hockey. They bantered about the old days, less a series of jokes, more keywords about the past to trigger various guffaws - "Biology" [pause] "Ha Ha Ha". It's great that people can have friends like that, they're just like me and my friends, but whilst I was clearly the interloper, it never felt exclusive, there was no pretence or performance, they were just hanging out (though they admitted with a wry smile that Saturday afternoons down the pub after Hockey were unheard of).

The rest of the weekend; a party for Mike's birthday, a coastal walk, breakfast a Big Vern's, Blow Karting on an isolated golden beach and of course, simply hanging out with some of our oldest friends (and Penny's recently grown bump) left me feeling that all was well and good in the world. We flew home relieved of the stresses and hassles of our everyday world, and for a few days at least, it was like we'd left the hassles behind permanently.


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