A seasoned look at life - January 17, 2013

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“BY ‘ECK she’s gorgeous!” said the flushed city gent.

I had just shown him a photo of She Who Knows and the city in question was Manchester.

It was a rare outing from the Fylde – to a reunion in my old home town of Urmston for a mate’s 70th.

The gent was our host’s younger brother and he was most impressed by my better half who had not accompanied me.

She had, however, released her official Christmas picture rather as the Royals do.

Attending such nostalgic events can be nerve-wracking.

Across the banquet room, in this case at a golf club, middle-aged strangers stare at each other wondering if they were once friends.

Some you can’t remember even when introduced; others are frighteningly changed.

The bald men are not too bad; it’s those with hair that’s gone white.

Fortunately, ladies don’t alter as dramatically – thanks to the wonders of cosmetic science and hairdressing.

“You haven’t changed at all!” is the required greeting, awarded with a response of, “Neither have you.”

It was disappointing but perhaps a relief there were no old girlfriends of mine.

But She Who’s festive snap went down a treat. Yes, we scrub up well at Edmonds Towers!

However, it can be tricky conversing with people not seen for half a lifetime.

Personal questions are a minefield, with unheard of divorces and disasters.

Many were a little deaf.

Also, unless they are extremely boring, people’s interests have changed.

Our host, senior partner in a city solicitor’s, was most entertaining – dressed in Elvis wig, sideboards and teddy boy jacket belting out ‘The Wonder of You’.

He recently survived cancer and was making the most of it all.

“So, how long have you been in Blackpool now?” asked his brother, then looked incredulous when told almost 30 years.

“Don’t you want to come back here?” he added, looking disappointed. I think he was hoping to meet She Who Knows.

“Still, you must have more friends there now – other circles.”

Indeed but it was good to meet old pals and particularly relatives not seen for years.

Family recollections help you realise who you are and what matters most in life.

Then it was time to drive from the big city towards our welcoming coast.

My return reminded me of a motto displayed by my grandparents: ‘East is East, West is West, But Home is Best.’

Considering how much we have to enjoy on our friendly holiday coast, with its diverse attractions, I couldn’t wait to get home.

Besides, someone gorgeous was waiting for me.

n Roy’s novels and humorous memoirs are available online or through book stores. For full details visit his website www.royedmonds-blackpool.com