Saturday, June 07, 2014


It`s a delight when after many, many years, old friends and acquaintances meet up again. And it is especially so now that those old friends and acquaintances are, like myself, well into their 70s.   It started just two or three years ago when, thanks to the internet and some judicious searching, I met up with an old school friend who I had not seen since we played cricket together on a Kentish hillside in the late 1950s.   Fortuitously, his niece had a village pub where we arranged to meet and I think our first words to each other after over 50 years may well have been, "Now, what were we saying?"   A much treasured  and continuing friendship revived.

A month or so ago, our local Parish Council had, as they are required by law to do, given notice of the Annual Parish Meeting, which is traditionally poorly attended.   This year, however, they had gone to the admirable trouble of producing a seductively glossy brochure, delivered to every door in the parish, containing the annual report and announcing that a talk would be given by a well respected Kentish historian, whose name I recognised, about the development of the county over the years. 

Now I`m not a great fan of Parish Council meetings but even I could not resist meeting this much heralded historian.   You see, the last time he and I met was again all of 50 years ago on the same cricket field on that same Kentish hillside when he captained a team from Sevenoaks and I had the honour of captaining the village team.   We didn`t speak much about the history of Kent but we did speak a lot about the glory days of village cricket.   More treasured memories revived.

And last evening I ventured to the last resort that is Folkestone - all heaving bingo, fairground noise and what passes these days for entertainment - to meet up with an old friend and his wife who were staying overnight en route to France from their Yorkshire home.   He and I had met fleetingly well over 30 years ago now and before that we had spent most of our National Service together in Germany, by day in our armoured cavalry regiment and at night working as projectionists in the AKC Cinema.

The coincidence being, of course, that we should happen to meet up again on the 70th anniversary of D-Day, when the casualties and veterans of the real war were recognised once more for a sacrifice and a triumph that enabled people like me to survive long enough to enjoy the company of good friends remembering good times.   

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