If you could hear my voice you would think I was a man.
If you could feel the pain in my chest you would swear you had ruptured your spleen.
If you could have been in Holyhead this weekend with my sister and I and countless old school friends, you would have been party to the most memorable night in a looooooooong time.
From the moment my sister pitched up my house yesterday morning (with her school friend Angela whom she had picked up en route) we laughed the whole two hours to Holyhead for my sisters "Class of 1989" reunion.
**Im warning you now, this is a looong post outlining 30 hours of recapturing our childhood so you might need to save this blog post for moments of insomnia!**
Holyhead is where I lived between 1982 and 1987; my teenage years, no less. Becky, my sis, lived there two years further, my brother 6 years further to that and my parents left two years after. It was very difficult moving from Yorkshire to a strong Welsh foothold where the English were not embraced with the welsh spirit we later came to be accepted by. First of all, we couldn't speak the language. Not all Welsh born people can speak the mother tongue anyway but woe betide the "dirty English" moving there and having the heinous audacity to not even be able to say "hello" in Welsh. This used to anger me because even my best friend Tracey couldn't speak it but it was Ok for her as she was born in Wales. At the time I felt very alienated and miles from all my primary school friends and outer family contact. Slowly but surely we all formed friendships with the fiercely proud residents of the island. It did take time and I remember the miserable feeling I had until I finally adjusted and was accepted on the whole.
Of course, I had friends who didn't give a fig about me being "English" and those friends were Tracy Smith and Catherine Cheyne. My god, we have been through everything together. We laughed and cried and argued and fought. We did millions of things, said a billion words and got up to lots of mischief. And I have always - ALWAYS thought of them after I left in 1987 to join the RAF. I missed them so much but our lives apart busied us with our own things. However, they were always in my thoughts (click here to see the pictures I posted about Tracy, not long back). And yet we never hung around as a threesome. Tracy was my after school friend who lived locally and Catherine was an "in my class freind" and who I hung around with in School. It was like I had two best friends in two worlds of my teenage years.
And guess what? I got to see both of them this weekend. IT WAS MAGIC.
I had pre-arranged to meet Catherine who had only just found me through Friends Reunited and facebook a few months back. I was absolutely delighted to be back in touch with her as she had left Holyhead in 1990 to work away and we really did lose touch. I cannot tell you how much I thought of her and how much I missed her. The day she contacted me via an email was one of the best things that happened to me this year. I literally burst into tears when I saw that email. And so when I arrived in Holyhead yesterday afternoon, I dropped my sister off at her old BFF, Trishas house (And get this, Trisha and Becky are the sisters of Tracey and Me..... yes, you can imagine the fall outs we had!) and Angela off at her friends house and then I raced over to meet Catherine. 22 years has lapsed since we saw and spoke to each other and I was so so nervous and excited to see her again. I waked into the White Eagle pub in Rhoscolyn (amazing place) and see her - the wonderful friend who has not changed one little bit. I had brought photos to share from our school days and we chatted and laughed and got emotional over little things that before we knew it, it was time to go and take some photos, of which I promised her.
Isnt she lovely?
And one for the album! I cannot take self portraits with the 24-70mm L lens on the 5D. It weight 3 tonnes and when I do manage - look what happens........
When it was time for me to go back and meet my sister for her reunion event, I didn't want to leave her so I asked her to pop along to the reunion. She said she would and I was absolutely delighted that we could chat further.
I drove back to Holyhead to get ready to go out and met up with my sister, Trisha and another old school pal of theirs, Zoe. God, from the moment we got in Zoes house we did nothing but cry with laughter over the most stupidest things. I couldn't breathe for laughing, they were so so funny. The Champers was flowing and olives were on tap and tears streamed from our eyes. I didn't think I would have the energy to go out after that, I was pooped. But we did and from 7pm until 9.30pm we laughed and laughed and laughed.
L-R: Trisha, my sis, Zoe and erm, me
A rarity; my sis and I
My sisters old school freind, Delith. Oh we did have a laugh with her.
Becky and my old school freind (and Majorette team player!) - Jayne xx
This picture was taken after an incident with fake dog poo. Don't ask, i could never convery how funny it was. All I can say is that I almost passed out from laughing.
I met tonnes of becky's old school pals but secretly I was waiting for Catherine to arrive. Eventch she arrived and we chatted and it was time to leave the reunion so we could go and say hello to Tracy.
Ive seen Tracy a few times when I came home on leave from the RAF and she came to my wedding in 1995 (I got married in a beautiful Welsh church in Trearrdur bay) and then a brief hello in 1998. As Tracy doesn't' "do" computers it became increasingly difficult to stay in touch. i didn't have her address, i didn't have her number and life jogged by. So when I knew Trisha was going to the reunion I enquired where her sister might be and got myself all excited to see her again. On the way up to the shop she was working in, Catherine and I bumped into one of our old school friends, Carl. It was WEIRD! A real surreal moment because we had been talking about him that day. She used to go out with him when they were teenagers and I used to hang about in their group in class. I cant tell you how much of a delight that we had bumped into him. Both Catherine and I were like kids again.
Taken with Blackberry phoneEventually I got to pop into the shop where I knew Tracy would be and saw her and ran up to her and hugged her and tears welled in my eyes. I swear it was like I had seen her yesterday. Catherine came in the shop close behind me and Tracy had recognised her straight away (after 22 years, mind!) and that was it. Gas, gas, gas, gas, gas and laugh and regale our youth and laugh some more. You just cannot bottle that kind of emotion and feelings. I loved it.
Taken with Blackberry phoneSadly, Tracy had to go home to her family and so Catherine and I went for a drink with Carl to further recapture our youth.
Before long it was time to go back to the reunion to pick my sister up because undoubtedly she would have been worse for wear! My sister is the best fun at any party and so I couldn't wait to see how much fun she had been having. The reunion had disbanded and people had either head home or went to the local nightclub to party further. I couldn't have given anymore time to socialising because I was out of energy. So we head back to our digs after giving Catherine the best goodbye and promises of getting together again soon. Becky wanted the obligatory kebab on the way back so we found a late night takeaway to buy crap we wouldn't normally eat when sober! Becky took on a motherly role looking after a girl who was worse for wear outside spewing her guts up as her boyfriend was inside the shop buying pizza! She gave him a right rollicking and I thought "she never changes!". Both Trisha and Becky walked me back to my B&B and all the way, Becky and I would scream with laughter at old haunts where we would play and hang out and discuss each shop on the way and what we used to buy and how many memories each place brought us back. I loved that so much, our memories are so strong in Holyhead and for me, they always will be.
After a good nights sleep (minus the dog, for a change as the dog always sleeps with me and it was actually quite a treat to sprawl!) I nipped to Tracys house which funnily enough is 6 doors down from the B&B I was staying at! I was met by her and her husband, Iwan who I remember from my youth and also met - for the first time - her ten year old son, Daniel. Their house welcome was lovely and we had such a good laugh going over old photos. Iwan is a great guy and their son is such a good looker! I have my Ellie earmarked to marry him which would mean Tracy and I could never have an excuse to lose touch! I was hoping that Tracy would come with me to go and collect my sister from her sister Trishas house and I cant tell you how happy I was that she was coming. I couldn't wait for us to be a "foursome" again.
Seeing Trisha and Tracy (whom we nicknamed Trix and Trax all those years back) plus Becky and I together after all these years was so emotional for me. Thousands and thousands of memories came to me all at once and it felt so good. Oh and we did laugh. We truly did. Becky got to see Tracy for the first time in literally 17 years and it was such and easy slip back into comfortable conversation as we talked about our kids, our hopes and aspirations along with our history and funny tales. It was a morning I never want to forget, truly. As a gift I offered to take pictures of their kids which was an absolute pleasure for me.
Osian (pronounced "osh-e-an" and is Trisha's son) was NOT in the mood until I made him laugh out loud using words that would have made Trishas hair curl.
Lowry (Trisha's daughter) is the spit of her mother and such a little beauty, honestly - isnt she a peach?
And Daniel? Good grief, what a stunner!
Daniel took pictures of the terrible four and was most impressed he was holding £3,000 worth of camera equipment in his hands much to the fright of his mother who said she would kill him if he dropped it. Well done, Daniel - great photo! This photo will be framed and put in my office so I can just think of this fun day forever.
Finally the time came for us to go and I really did not want to leave. Not because I didn't want to see Mark again (Ellie is away for two weeks at her nannies, in Wales of all places!!) but because like the bittersweet feeling of eating your last bit of chocolate; you never want it to end although you savour it that little bit more and know deep down you can always revisit the moment again.
So we came home with Angela in tow again and continued to laugh and talk about the reunion and the people we had seen again. My throat was literally on fire from laughing so hard. Tears upon tears rolled down my cheeks, I swear that my body just couldn't take anymore.
And so arriving home was like a full stop, a period, a slam against a brick wall. I didn't want to come down from this feeling but you know, all good things come to an end.
Angela took pictures of my sister and I after tears of laughter (again!) when we arrived at my house - can we ever be serious?
And Angela and Bex, laughing, luaghing, laughing.......
I couldnt believe my weekend would stop here but, you know, I have my blog and photos to remind me of this fabulous weekend. It wont mean a lot to you and the photos of people will skim over your head but this blog post will remain very special in my heart, mind and soul forever.
Thank you, my dear friends xx