Twice in a week

Despite being shattered from a busy week and a late night with the family last night, K and I were both ridiculously happy to spend lunchtime with our little gang of friends again – it kind of felt like old times, meeting up and hanging out together as a group twice in the space of just over a week.

It’s lovely to know that however long it is until we do it next (which hopefully won’t be as long as the gap up to these two weeks), we’ll still pick up exactly where we left off.

And Steve’s baby will probably still stare at me oddly and occasionally smile.

Thanks for having a birthday, Dave.

Au revoirs

Tonight we had a final family meal before waving my bro and his wife and daughter off for their work-related emigration to Europe. It’s sad to see them go, but I’m excited at the exciting new challenges that face them, not to mention how much our niece will benefit from growing up in a different culture and country for the first few years of her life.

I’d love the chance to do something similar, but I know I’m probably a bit too much of a wimp for that. Still, having a nice gathering centred around great food (as all Lewington family gatherings always are!) was a great way to say goodbye and wish them well. Bro and Dad are now traipsing across Europe to get their car over there and then flying back later in the week to pick up the rest of the gang and take them out there. In summer, K and I get to drive out and deliver the new car they have on order, so I’m already grinning ear-to-ear just thinking about it. Summer holiday planned already!

Flexible working

I’ve not been quite so grateful for flexible working as I was today. Struck down by the lurgy (a really nasty cough with nothing to shift off my chest and no streaming nose to be able to call it a cold) and hardly sleeping, the prospect of a 5am alarm to get me into Bromley for the various meetings and epic To Do list that faced me this morning wasn’t a good one.

So I switched things up, slept in until 8am and worked from home taking all my meetings over Lync (the rubbish Microsoft “official” version of Skype) and cracking through my To Do list like a demented giant-omlette-making chef gets through eggs.

Flexible working FTW!

Media tarting

The highlight of my day was not (surprisingly) the 6 hours I spent in the car driving to Bristol. I do love long car journeys, especially when it gives me a chance to listen to some of my heavily-stacked Podcast queue, but even 6 hours is pushing the enjoyment factor when I’m in the car on my own.

I did however, love chatting to BBC Radio 5Live Breakfast and BBC West Midlands Drive about the rising CF population and the predictions that it could almost double by 2025. Not sure I agree with the numbers entirely, but we know the number of people being born with CF is relatively stable, so the prediction suggests a definite rise in longevity, which can only be a good thing.

This week on Tuesday it was Kerry’s birthday, then Emily’s, then Jess’s. All three of them no longer with us, all three of them succumbing to the ravages of CF and the complications it brings. The fact that we could be looking at a future where no one is dying from CF is incredibly exciting and definitely brought a smile to my face. What better way to mark their birthdays than helping spread the word about our fight to beat CF for good?

Exploring new areas

Coincidentally, I had a meeting in the very same area this afternoon that gave us chance to explore the area and find the best local watering hole for us to re-christen our Meeting Room 5.

The move is exciting in itself. The pub we found tonight (two minutes from Aldgate East station and a fast train home) was lovely. As was the company.

Many reasons to smile.

Old haunts

I had a meeting with the lovely people at the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme today, finding out how we might be able to assist people with CF to undertake the award and also how we might be able to support them and all young people taking it on to complete their volunteering section. CF is still a young people’s condition, so it’s vital that we support young people with CF as much as we can, a huge part of which is helping them do things that everyone else does, as well as raising everyone else’s awareness.

It wasn’t until I was sitting across the table from my colleague at lunch just outside Victoria station that I realised the meeting would be in the same building as World Vision UK’s London office – they’re all in the same charity office complex there – and it made me smile to walk the familiar roads up from Victoria to Belgrave road and into the familiar surroundings of the slightly dowdy-building with the always almost friendly security guards.

It did cause me to reflect on the downside of an overly-scheduled day, however, knowing that straight after the meeting I had to head back to Victoria to get back home in time for another meeting in the afternoon. With a little more breathing room in my schedule I’d have had time for serendipity to jump in and lead me back up to that familiar fifth floor to drop in on my old colleagues and catch up. My day was missing the Big Orange today and although the building made me smile, my inability to take advantage of the visit made me just a tiny bit sad.

Mums

It’s odd that I loathe Valentine’s day as much as I do and yet always really like Mothers’ Day. I hate being told when to express my love for my wife, and yet I love that there’s a whole day devoted to mums. Feels weird.

But it was lovely to see and spend time with both of my mums – Mummy L (mine) and Mummy H (K’s) – and to let them know how much we appreciate them and everything they have done and continue to do to support us and show their love to us. I like to think they know that we love them and appreciate them every day, but just in case we bought them both flowers and had a lovely Mothers’ Day cuppa with them to say thank you.

It’s also a day I reflect on all those people who are desperate to be mums but aren’t because quirks of fate have taken that chance away from them for one of very many reasons. Those mourning the loss of a baby, those trying so hard to have one and those who know they will never be able. All of these people are always in my thoughts on Mothers’ Day even while we smile and enjoy the mums we’ve got.

What did you do for you mum today?

Old friends are the best friends

It’s odd things that unite or reconvene a posse as you get older. Back in the day (in fact, pretty much a decade ago now, which makes me feel really old) there was a time when K and I lived downstairs from our best friends Steve and Dazz and were frequently visited by Dave and PS; we basically lived out a real-life version of FRIENDS but with tea on the sofa in one of our lounges (often in PJs) rather than coffee in Central Perk.

Obviously, we moved on, upwards and apart – geographically rather than emotionally – and began to see less of each other. 

Today was Steve’s daughter’s first birthday party. She’s one, I mean, not that they’ve been so mean and tight-fisted that she’s never had a birthday before. And it was the first time in as long as I can remember that we had that gang back in the room together. 

When you don’t see friends for a spell, there really is no better feeling than picking up as if no time had passed at all and slipping into the same easy rapport you always had.

I can count on my fingers the people with whom I have this sort of relationship and this gang take up one whole hand. We’ve been through thick and very, very thin together and we’ll always be there for each other however far apart we may be.

Old friends really are the best friends.