Tag Archives: girlfriends

Lasting Friendship: a Recipe

friendship recipe (pixaboy)


Four women of a certain age

Thirty years of history

One defunct computer company

Bouquet of Facebook

Large measure, sense of humour

One converted barn

One, small and very warm, Mini

One free weekend in August

Wine (add as required)

Desire to press -on -through (as much as necessary)



Take four women of a certain age who all, thirty years previously, worked in London for the same company.  

Having just arrived on the shore of Blighty, Mrs Carmichael reneged on her vow to never, never, never work in the computer industry again and joined a computer company that promised to pay her more than others she interviewed with and was, more importantly, based in the pulsing heart of London’s red light district – Soho and just behind Liberty of London (her favourite shop).

Here she met many sales colleagues who liked a laugh, a drink, another drink and a bit of commission. She also met a secretary, K……, a customer support rep, D…… and an in-house trainer, L…… They also liked a laugh, a drink, another drink and a good lunch and/or dinner out.

Infuse Facebook friendship with copious slugs of ‘liking’ each others’ life events.

K……, D……, L…… and yours truly all moved on to other companies, lives, marriages, more marriage (not speaking for myself here) and for some, yet more marriage. We all joined Facebook. We became ‘friends’ on Facebook. We admired the children and, dare I say, grandchildren? (not speaking for myself here  – that’s the beauty of birthing late). We congratulated new ventures and commiserated over sadnesses, illnesses, accidents and stupidities.

Allow to marinate for three or four years.

Three/fours years on Facebook easily equates to the 25/30 years that, in reality, most of us had not seen each other. K…… and I have holidayed together a soupçon of times (some of which you’ve devoured, dear reader, and enjoyed both Barcelona and Marrakech through our hazed/glazed eyes). The other thimbleful is for another time and another post. Or not!

Combine and bring to the boil.

One of us suggested a get-together. We all agreed. It wasn’t the first time suggested or the first time agreed but with the incorporation of time and aeration it seemed that this time, the venture might just have wings.

Transfer to converted barn.

converted barn (mrscarmichael)

L….., now a sales training mogul, invited us to her casa, just shy of Cambridge (but NOT in the Fens).

Sprinkle with a free weekend in August.

We scoured our diaries, calendars, and fading minds coming up with the weekend just gone. We were all free, willing and somewhat unnaturally keen.

Garnish with a liberal desire to press-on-through.

I do like a private Facebook group, don’t you? It gives me the opportunity to be secretive, top up photos as and when I choose and to keep any designated flock under control and ON TRACK. We called our group Soho Slummers. Don’t ask. In my back catalogue I found an evocative pic of K……in a Soho ‘shop’ sporting a long blonde wig. Just perfect for the cover photo.

Everything was going so well.

That is until, L…… had a pacemaker fitted, D……’s sciatica got no better but maybe a touch worse, K…… broke her right foot at work and I fell down a rabbit hole in Orford and nuked my left foot. That too, is another story. Suffice it to say I did not come out of the tumble as well as Lewis Carroll’s Alice but, thanks be to God, a helluva lot better than K…… #smallmercies.

Top up with more pressing-on-through and a side of black humour.

We agreed the adventure would continue as planned.

Add one small, bright blue manual, non-air-conditioned Mini. NOTE: this ingredient is optional. There are both trains and MUCH bigger, better, more comfortable cars but this is the original recipe and so, for veracity’s sake, I have included.

This is how three of the four (plus k……’s boot) come to be squashed, on one of the hottest weekends of the summer, in Mrs C’s dog walking Mini on our way to a GOOD TIME in Cambridgeshire (but not in the Fens). Yours Truly, the only one uninjured enough to contemplate doing the drive.

It was very hot (windows up), very noisy and windy (windows down) and very, very cramped. K….. (and her boot) were pressed into the passenger seat dashboard. D……, spreadeagled in the back had more room to move around but not much due to the amount of luggage women of a certain age pack for ONE night away.

A generous dash of UNOPENED wine.

Oh and the coupla dozen bottles of vino did not help the space or windows down/noise scenario either.

 Pour continuous glugs of vino verde (and a bit of aperol, prosecco and red wine for seasoning purposes).

We did not stop laughing. We laughed at the barn, at the pub, back at the barn, still at the barn, at another pub and …..back at the barn. We drank quite a bit as well. We surprised/shocked each other. We found a weekend mantra (didn’t we K…..?). We ate like queens and had a really, really good afternoon, evening and night.

The next morning L…..drove us to Cambridge to punt. Punt we did. We took good photos:

This is a good photo of Kings College (mrscarmichael)

and very bad photos:

not my breasts (mrscarmichael)

And boy, did we laugh.

We re-establised a friendship that is so much more precious now than in those heady days of our twenties.

Did I mention that our twenty four hours near Cambridge (but not the Fens) was filled with laughter? Well, dear reader, it was. And still, I can’t stop smiling.

We’ve agreed to do it again. I really hope we do.

Make a toast.

A toast to lasting friendship. Cheers, chin chin and bottoms up.


Take Three Girls: Barcelona (DP Challenge)

Next Friday I’m off, with two girlfriends, to my favourite European city. We’re treating ourselves to a long weekend in this Catalonian delight.

The weather I imagine will be much like London’s. Maybe a few degrees warmer. I hope for sunshine but will be satisfied with dry.

We have rented an apartment in El Born – the old town and right in the heart of it all. The apartment looks great and we have a bedroom each albeit one looks more like a corridor/cupboard. I do hope the bed is not as doll size as the room that contains it. This will be a draw straws scenario or flattest heels wins best room. Just kidding. We’re not that puerile or selfish or self-centred. Are we? I don’t think so.

Anyway, I love Barcelona. This will be my fourth trip. It will be T…….’s second. She hated it the first time. I’m taking that as a positive thing and looking upon it as a challenge. I shall convert her. With or without the help or Mr Vino and Mr Blanco. No, it’ll be with but that’s ok too.

My other travelling companion, K……. has never been to Barcelona. It was her idea. I’m logging that fact here in case things go wrong and recriminations follow.

hotel arts (hotel website)
hotel arts (hotel website)

The last three times I have been to Barcelona we stayed in the Hotel Arts on the waterfront. It’s a magnificent building and the views out to sea, along the coast and back across the cuidad are stunning. The art works, sculpture and pottery in the hotel are both interesting and expensive.

I know the pottery is pricy because Mr Carmichael broke a vase in our room the first time we stayed there. These things happen, especially to Mr Carmichael.

That was the time we went on an achievers’ trip with Oracle (a company we have both at various and separate times been in the employ of) and Mr Carmichael, the achiever, told me children were welcome. They weren’t. Why did he do that? It was a tight fit in our room and I developed broad shoulders that week as I strode past the chattering staff who vociferously believed that the Carmichaels were taking liberties. Ok, we were but I didn’t know it until check in. Hmmmm.

That trip I not only convinced Mr C to think about getting a dog but fell in love with Antonio Gaudí’s extremely modernist and rather mad architecture. We will, I hope, be visiting/revisiting La Sagrada Familia, Casa Batllo, Casa Milà and of course Parc Guell which, I remember, the daughters loved too. Actually they were also captivated by his Star Waresque creations on the roof of La Pedrera.

i want a chimney like that
i want a chimney like that (www.GreatBuildings.com)

Obviously we will also get an eye full of the public art strewn about the city. It’s hard to miss and who would want to?

My favourite is Gehry’s golden fish which was created to commemorate the 1992 summer olympics in Barcelona and just happens to stand at one end of the Arts’ swimming pool. I didn’t have to go too far to find this masterpiece.

a Gehry motif (bk.asia-city.com)
a Gehry motif (bk.asia-city.com)

But there’s more, far more to see as well. There’s a Gaudí museum I haven’t been to but perhaps that might be curve overload. The Picasso museum I have toured and am happy for a rerun. It might well be around the corner from out apartment in El Born. I would like to visit the Miró museum. I need to start the research. Right now.

Ambrosia in the guise of tapas and nectar (mojitos and wine) will surround us. We are blessed.

yum (mrscarmichael)
yum (mrscarmichael)