After getting home from my not-quite-4hr-walk, I got ready and made my way over to Sarah’s as she had organised a little reunion of the ‘Gang’ – a group of us, mostly from cadets, who have stayed in touch. Over the years there had been parties and get-togethers, and the boys had done various hiking trips, but in 2014 there was a landmark birthday and we decided to have a trip away. Barcelona was chosen and we had a fun weekend which mostly consisted of eating, drinking, a visit to the Sagrada Familia, more eating, more drinking … and a race to the top of a rope climbing frame on the beach at midnight (smashed it!).
In 2016 there was another landmark birthday so this time we went to Bruges and apart from the obligatory eating and drinking, we managed a brewery tour and a lovely boat ride around the canal (we took up almost the whole boat as there were 15 of us!), and I even fitted in a visit to the Dali Museum with Neil and Annie. They had both done the Everest trek so it was lovely to spend some time with them and chat about their experiences. While I’ll freely admit that in the presence of this particular group I am a bit of a lightweight when it comes to keeping up with eating and drinking, I was able to lead a few of us astray on the Saturday night as I’d spied a bar/nightclub that I rather fancied going to, and we danced the night away until about 3.30am. Happy days.
It was great to catch up with everyone and there was much talk about our next foray. We seem to be picking places beginning with ‘B’, I’m personally hoping we can make it to Bora Bora, but in reality it might be Bognor! Haha (not that there’s anything wrong with Bognor I hasten to add). Have to wait and see. I shunned the Bruges Zot for ginger beer, and left at a respectable time as I was planning to skype Charlie in Abu Dhabi at 9am the next morning and then drag my friend Lorraine through the woods near my house in the afternoon.
Charlie had also done the Everest trek and after speaking to her all my worries about actually surviving the trip came back. I’d also been speaking to Australian James (as he’s done it too) and I would say that both of them are a lot fitter and hardier than I am, so it’s finally getting through to me that this isn’t going to be a walk in the park (well, not that I thought it would be, but you know what I mean). In a slightly morbid moment I asked Google how many people had died trekking to base camp and it said an average of 4 per year – out of the 30,000 or so who attempt it. Ok, the odds of expiring are slim, but still …
Lorraine arrived at mine just after 2pm, we are usually ‘Ladies wot lunch’ however both of us were quite excited at doing something different. Lorraine was my first real boss (we worked at the Halifax) and I’ve now been friends with her and her husband for over 20 years. She was great when I got back from my backpacking trip in the mid-90’s and while I was job-searching she let me work Saturday’s and called me when she needed someone to fill-in across branches in her area when someone was off sick or they needed some support. I have been so lucky with some of the fantastic managers I’ve had and I regularly meet up with many of them who I now count as friends. I wouldn’t be where I am today without the opportunities and support they all gave me and my current boss, Phil, is no exception.
We were out for about an hour and a half and got back just as it started to rain. Lorraine really enjoyed the walk, as did I, and we were happy to swap our mud cake for mud (for once).