Family and Friends

At the weekend we had a massive “Whoops-we-forgot-new-year-and-now-we’re-emigrating” style sauna party.  Everyone turned up in all manner of inventive, elaborate costumes (I was a Mountie – it was that or a beaver, and that is just asking for trouble!). We had Batman and Ironman show up, a very tall ‘french maid’, the Devil, Superman, a Superman-dominating Vampire, Nick Fury, a writer-pirate, two “proper Pirates”, the governor of Melee island, Michelle in a full Masqerade gown, rockabilly Ange, Arthur Dent, a nurse and Tigger. And a brilliant and drunken night was had by all.

What took a long and painful time to dawn on me the next day though, was that Saturday night was the last Epic Sauna party we are likely to have!!! That was possibly the last time I will see some of my friends until we are settled in Canada and they come and visit. That is a very sad thought. As such, this blog post is dedicated to all my loony, lovely friends. I will miss you all immensely.

Some friends have suffered far too many years at university with me, and give me hope that there is Life Beyond the PhD:

Dr Death herself, Hannah

Then there is The Chapmen, a numerous clan of very creative tattooed Geeks:

"Writer Pirate" Chris
The annual gurning competition with Rachel

In other areas of Darlington, I found these critters:

“The original teenage layabout” – Grem
The one and only Grarr
She who was once "Not-Bel". Ahem. Rachel N 🙂

And down in Sheffield I met some new friends and rediscovered an old one:

Anna, otherwise known as AK47
Ol: my dearest Boogle

There are some friends I’ve grown up with:

Fellow Highworthian and friend for 19 years, Caroline

And some I’ve met on route;  my coffee obsession and Spanish “skills” would not be the same if it weren’t for my ginger, Glaswegian partner-in-crime:

La Andie - mi chica loquita

I have an extended and very interesting family, too:

Very Daft Not Quite Cousins, Marc and Amy

And speaking of which, I am really, really going to miss all the idiocies of Whitby Goth Weekend, and all the associated gothy gaggle. Here’s just some of our stunning outfits:

During the near-fatal hangover on Sunday, I had to say fond farewells to these two, and that was perhaps the hardest because they are not the sort I can just drop in on in the evenings. Hilary and I have been best friends since we met in 1993 and I cannot begin to list the insane schemes, projects, techie stints, geekisms, dramatic adventures, pastiches and emotional rollercoasters we’ve experienced together. For his part, D has always been my friend too, as opposed to “Hilzo’s boyfriend”, and he is equally legendary for equally daft if not always similar reasons.

D - its best not to ask
Piratical Hilzo - this year's Bel-and-Hils pic!

If, dear reader, you have spotted the conspicuous absence of Carl and Miranda – well, duh, I am not gonna miss them cos they ARE coming with me. Yus indeed.

However, the biggest wrench is going to be saying Bye Bye to my wonderful parents. I don’t doubt for a second that they will be out to visit us, but this last Christmas at their house – where they have even built a little grotto in the garden for Miranda – was very difficult to leave! We owe them both so much, emotionally and financially, that none of this insane Canada plan would have been possible without them. I hope they know how grateful we are, because everything is so stressful at the moment that I get choked up even thinking about it all and just disintegrate into a snotty incoherent mess when I try to talk to them. So, assuming you are reading: THANK YOU FOR EVERYTHING!!

I love you all and I will miss you all so, so much!

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