When I was writing my 33 Before 33 list earlier this year, I added one item on there that I knew I was guaranteed to tick off. A bit of a cheat, perhaps, but when you’re as flakey as I am, you have to try and gain the advantage somewhere when you’re setting yourself a challenge!
The task in question was to spend a day with my childhood best friend and I knew I was going to tick it off as we had already planned the day we were going to spend together.
Like I said, a little bit cheaty.
Anyway, a little bit of background on this childhood best friend of mine.
Meet Alison and a very awkward my-god-look-at-me Penny, aged around 7 or 8 I would guess.
Ali and I met on our first day at Infant Schools when we were just 4-years old. I don’t remember the initial becoming of our friendship but what I do remember is that we were pretty much joined at the hip from that day onwards.
We went through our Infant and Junior years together, with only the occasional wobble (I’ve never forgotten you saying Elizabeth was your new best friend Ali, FYI) until the age of 11 when the time for us to go to Senior school arrived and we weren’t going to be heading to the same one. I was HEARTBROKEN. I remember not quite knowing what I was going to do without my trusty side-kick, but everyone told me it would be fine, I’d have lots of amazing experiences and I’d make new friends.
I didn’t want new friends though, I wanted MY friend.
Fast forward, and the different schools, new surroundings, and unavoidable adapting of your life that comes with becoming a young adult meant we drifted apart. Soon enough we didn’t talk anymore – it wasn’t a conscious decision, just the way life lead us.
Fast forward again and at some point – I don’t really know when – Ali and I found ourselves back in contact via the magic of Facebook, and we haven’t looked back since. We talk all the time and, once again, she has become one of my closest friends in the world.
So, when I saw a link online earlier this year saying that Boyzone – our One True Love’s as kids – were going to be doing a 25-year anniversary tour, I just knew I had to get tickets for us both, and that’s exactly what I did.
The day of concert rolled round and I was GIDDY with excitement. I played Boyzone songs back-to-back all morning and bopped around my office, grateful that nobody else was in to see me. Home time came and I more or less sprinted home where Ali was collecting me to drive us down to Hastings for an evening of reminiscing and bad singing on the pier.
Traffic getting to Hastings was an absolute nightmare on the day as it was a Bank Holiday weekend and what should have been a 90 minute journey ended up taking us 4 hours! We had hired an AirBnB for the night and the hosts were brilliant (I’ll tell you more about that in another post) waiting for us to get there and getting us checked in super quick so that we could get ourselves ready and out the door for the show.
Luckily, our home for the night was right on the seafront and we could actually see the stage from the living room window, so it only took us a few minutes to get there once we’d got changed and speedily drunk some Prosecco and eaten some Doritos in preparation.
The show itself was insanely good and I don’t think we stopped grinning the entire time we were there. We sang, we danced, and we somehow remembered every single word of every single song.
The band were brilliant and at the end of the night, once the show was over, I smiled to myself as I saw women reduced to the teens they once were, screaming at the boys in a bid to catch their eyes as they jumped into the cars taking them home.
A walk from the pier into town, a few bars for a few bevvies, and we headed back to our accommodation for the night to hit the hay.
The following morning we weren’t feeling our freshest, but a cuppa and some pastries sorted us out and we began the journey home which, thankfully, took the 90 minutes it should have done in the first place.
As someone who dropped out of school aged 13, I don’t have the circle of ‘school friends’ that a lot of people do. All of my friends have come into my life from either college, or meeting them as an adult, so Alison truly is the longest friendship I have. Aged 32 now, we have known each other for 28 years and she means as much to me now as she did when we were wearing matching friendship bracelets, pretending to sharpen our pencils at the class bin so we could whisper to each other, and making each other dry-pasta trinkets as a binding promise to be in each other’s lives forever.
This was the first item I ticked off of my 33 Before 33 and, to be honest, I couldn’t think of a more perfect way for it to begin.