It’s Friday and I want to tell you about my friend.
She’s a couple of years older than me, always has been,
and today it’s her 2-years-older-than-me birthday,
so can we all shout together
HAPPY BIRTHDAY JANICE!!!!
Yep, if you ever call Clarity Towers, you will mostly be greeted by a chirpy, bubbly woman, always pleasant. Struggles a bit with whether it’s Good morning or Good afternoon, but once she’s over that hurdle, she’s away!
And that’s Jan. As helpful and honest as the day is long.
We go back a long, long way, in fact, right back to the school gates of the Medway Technical High School for Girls! Ahh yes, those were the days…
Please allow me to take you back in time to what is now Fort Pitt Grammar School, at the top of the hill.
Seven years we climbed up that hill. When it was icy or snowed, the older girls would have to make a human chain by holding scarves, so that the younger girls could climb up.
Part of the school dated back to the Crimean War. Florence Nightingale worked there.
I remember this West Wing was where the
first year classrooms were!
And this was the back of the Crimean wing,
on the way to the netball courts.
I remember the big fire, when much of the Crimean wing was burned down. Tragic really. Turned out one of the girls was panicking about her mock O levels, so her boyfriend decided to help out by setting fire to the cupboard where the exam papers were. Bloody fool.
But he didn’t get the Lunatic Asylum, which was actually our Domestic Science Block, where we learned to cook!
or the old Art block,
I can even remember the old 6th form common room used to be
in the Morgue! It was a great building!
Jan and I both lived a long bus ride from the School in Rochester, and since we Grays had just moved to the Towns, I knew nobody. Every morning at the bus-stop, there was just the one girl with the same uniform on as me, but she was in the third form. So after a couple of weeks, I plucked up the courage and approached her.
“Excuse me. Please will you be my friend?”
“OK, as long as you don’t tell anybody at school!”
There, you see. That was 44 years ago, and we’re still attached at the hip!! Jan travelled all over the world as a Nanny; I lived abroad for 15 years, too.
Yet, looking back, whenever things have gone pear-shaped for either of us, (and believe you me, the 44 years haven’t all been a bowl of cherries), the other one has been there in a jiffy.
And now, we work together. Jan is in charge of the office, which can be pretty overwhelming at times, when all three phones are going! But she is brilliant.
When my daughter Gracie left to go live in New York, I was heart-broken. How would I ever find anybody as upbeat, switched on and trustworthy as her?
Silly me. She was there all the time.
So today, she and I will slope off at lunchtime, and go to Tunbridge Wells for the afternoon.
Spot of shopping at Hoopers, and afternoon tea in the Pantiles.
Very civilised. And absolutely what girlfriends should do when birthdays roll around…
with love from