It is a tired (and emotional, but not overly so) country mouse that reports to you this evening. As I type I am aboard a train bound west from the northern lights of Auld Aberdeen, headed back to my family home. I’ve been in Aberdeen for just over twenty four hours, but oh, what a trip it’s been!
I arrived into Aberdeen yesterday at about 4, and met my wee sister (she who is vicious – Swiv) before hitting another train to go to Stonehaven for a family tea with my aunt and uncle and some of their brood. Three hours later we headed back to town after viewing a thousand and five wedding photos (one of my cousins, Gillian, got married earlier this year and I couldn’t make the ceremony due to a typical amount of disorganisation, crazy work schedule and general ineptitude) and eating a huuuuuge meal. Even though I’m a “proper grown up” now, I think my aunt imagines that between my visits to her I sit in a lonely room, starving. Hence the feeding up! It was great fun though, and as always I left feeling happy and hoping I’d see them all again soon.
On the way back to Aberdeen, Swiv broke it to me that we would be going out drinking that evening. And not just any old drinking…no, we went to ‘Rock Kareoke’ at a bar in Aberdeen…. It was really good fun, but I got a wee bit of a shock when I discovered that even the DJ was younger than me. I did manage to represent for the twentysomethings though, nicking not one but two inflatable microphones and helping my sisters flatmate Laura and DJ Martin to sing ‘Build Me Up Buttercup’ to a stonking reception at the end of the night (I know, it’s hardly rock, but it still brought the evenings music to a decent conclusion!). After that we ventured to a local ‘nitespot’ but after almost getting stuck in a toilet stall and having a young reprobate stamp on my foot (I’m all for pit hospitality, but I tend to check my victims are OK if something crunches!) it was time for home, via chip shop. Bearing in mind that I did this kind of thing 2 – 7 (!) times a week as an undergrad, my hips are explained a little!
Today has been catch up central. First up I met up with one of my dearest friends, Shona. Shona is many of the things I admire but will never be – she’s clever, talented, organised and funny…and thus great fun to spend time with. We had a couple of coffees and caught up on all each others news (bottom line, we are working really, really hard right now!), and left after a couple of hours resolute in our hope to see plenty of each other in the coming year – or at least to keep the emails and letters coming :-).
Next up was a lunch rendezvous with my friend Vicky, and I had an extra surprise when our friend Al came along as well. Vicky and I lived together for three years as undergrads, so we know a lot about each other – we’ve seen each other tipsy on cheap booze, hungover after the above, excited, upset, tense, determined…. Plus we’ve seen a lot of changing wardrobes and hairstyles. Al came into the equation when Vicky started her law degree, and has lived with Vicky (and our other friend Rhona) for much of the time since I haven’t lived with them. The three of us had a brief but enjoyable lunch, with lots of anecdotes, stories and catching up. It is very hard to think that the three of us, who used to attack the student union together with such glee and aplomb, are now a teacher, a lawyer and an estate agent….but that is the way the cookie crumbles. We’re all happy, and that, after all, is what’s important. Again, had a really good catch up, caught up with new email addresses etc., and I am determined to see more of them in the coming year than I did in the previous one!
After a highly enjoyable lunch (in a restaurant that was a church last time I came to Aberdeen!) I hit the shops for the last of my Christmas shopping. I love spoiling my family at this time of year (our extended family don’t do gifts, so I guess I try and compensate?) but the shops were a definite patience trial this time. Nonetheless, I bought loads of cool things and now only need to but some port, some sweets and some giftwrap to have my gifts all sorted! Yay!
Then I headed to the Still, a pub in Aberdeen, to meet up with Swiv and three of my friends from my student drama days. Bex looks fab and is as funny as ever, Brebsy had oodles of gossip and smut to impart (and a gift, woo!), and Brian was as enigmatic as ever. I also made the slightly silly error of having two large glasses of Shiraz Cabernet and then trying to eat chicken fajitas. Who knew Mexican food could be so aerodynamic?
Swiv has been a little down, ill and grouchy all day, so we decided to hop on the train home tonight rather than braving the rush tomorrow (everyone will be heading home for Christmas…). And now we’re gonna watch ‘Madagascar’. Yay, laptops!