I caught up with an old schoolfriend today.
I'd cycled in to town to 'Sign on' ie prove that I was still alive and needed another handout from the Government, because at the age of 57 I'm too young to draw a pension, yet too old to realistically get another job.
And having completed the ritual paperwork and said nice things to the Jobseekers clerk, I wandered out into the afternoon sunshine.
A heavily bearded, scruffy looking person is sitting outside the the Jobcentre and calls out 'Ian'. I take a quick look at him, pretend I haven't heard him call my name, and head towards my bicycle.
He calls again, 'Ian'.
I turn and take a deeper look.
Could it be....no surely not
He smiles and offers his hand. I take it gladly.
Tony and I grew up together. We went through infant school, junior school and grammar school together. We were both brilliant students, tusselling to win 1st place in any given assignment throughout our early school years. Later in grammar school I specialised in science, with Chemistry as my main subject. Tony was an excellent science student but was even better with English and languages. His mum was Jewish, his father a German dissident.....he had the world as his oyster.
He went off to Cambridge to do a double-first in English and German. I went off to the the University of East Anglia in Norwich where I failed after the first year.
Such is life.
I can't tell you how pleased I was to see my old friend.
We WILL keep in touch.
Even though we're both useless scumbags, in today's society, I'd like to think I can contribute bright thoughts to the world. And Tony's intellect is......well....out there.....even now, as he lives the life of a tramp