When I was young…

This is potentially one of those terribly dorky “I love my friends” posts, but – fingers crossed – I’ll manage to rise above it. 

I’m quite proud of the longevity of several of my friendships – there are quite a few that are past the decade mark, others that are just about on 15 years, while another is fast approaching two decades. This last one is a classic ‘we met on the first day of secondary school’ friendship. As I remember it, we were sat together writing out our timetables and I was impressed that she could fit ‘geography’ into one box (as ever, it’s rather odd things that attract me to people).

Over the years our friendship’s survived severe competition in academic stakes (my diary from this period is full of references to our termly grade cards – what I got is always followed by what she got); my family’s move to the shire; university; her marriage… Often we’ll go months without seeing each other, but just recently we managed to meet three times in under two weeks.

When we were young, I felt like a total short-arse next to leggy Babs. When we met again as adults, I was delighted to discover we were pretty much the same height (and, even better, the same shoe size). Talking about this recently, she refused to believe that there had been such a difference – until she came across, and texted me, this photo last week:

Oh goodness – the 1990s were a harsh decade. And yes, that is a bum-bag. Woe is me…

The fact that she’s actually leaning on my shoulder reveals just how much of a titch I was in comparison to her! I’m pretty sure Babs was just exceptionally tall for her age and probably hasn’t grown that much since this photo was taken (July 1993, in a hypermarket car park in Boulougne, on a school day-trip to France), whereas I had my growth spurt at some point after we’d moved to the shire. I definitely wasn’t particularly short as I never suffered any of the teasing my sister did – she was so short (for ages and ages) that our Maths teacher used to joke that she could sleep in a shoe box.

Anyway, things have evened out now:

See – practically the same height. The third person in our school trio is Viv (whose recent book launch included Fish & Chips canapés) and she’s definitely tall (and was wearing heels that particular evening) – still being in touch with her is also miraculous. The three of us ended up studying history at three different University of London colleges and are now doing very different things with our identical degrees…

When Babs sent me the 1993 photo, I dug out my photo album to see what I had from the same trip. I didn’t discover much – this being an age of disposable film cameras – but amongst a blurry headshot of Babs and some other girls on a coach, I found what may possibly be the first example of me ‘doing a Liz’ (except as it’s 1993, it would be ‘doing an Elizabeth’):

I could blame the frizz on an early start & long coach journey – but that’s just its natural state. For the last decade only the good work of John Freida’s Frizz Ease has tamed it. Terrifying.
One final thing, this might be a good opportunity to publicly apologise for a reference made to Babs’ wedding on this blog – and a story I’ve shared far too widely. She didn’t have strippers at her wedding reception; they were a tasteful burlesque act and almost certainly will never be bettered in terms of wedding entertainment no matter how many nuptials I attend. 

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