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My trip to London last weekend included an overnight stay with old friends. Gill and I were at school together and flat-shared in London, until she and Martyn got married. Iâ€™m godmother to their middle child, Max, whoâ€™s now at university.
Having no siblings, I value these long-established friendships a great deal. When we get together, as well as catching up on the latest news, we inevitably end up reminiscing. Fifteen-year-old Alex was with us this time, so there was a need to fill in few details and answer her questions (hence the title of this piece).
Thatâ€™s where it got scary. Because our shared experiences had to be nailed down, set into the context of our entire lives. It wasnâ€™t enough to say those happy times were before Alex was born â€“ of course they were. We had to admit it all took place thirty years ago.
Suddenly, telling yourself that 50 is the new 30 doesnâ€™t work. And thatâ€™s not all. You find that gaps have appeared in your memory. Completely illogical ones. I remember the monthly rent Gill and I paid to share a room in a flat in Fulham with two guys from Bournemouth (Â£15 each). However, I canâ€™t recall why the balding one, Phil, was always known as Blue. Perhaps reassuringly, neither can Gill.
Going further back, I can effortlessly call to mind the registration number (ARU983K), model (Vauxhall Viva Estate) and colour (sickly green) of the car my dad drove when I was 12. Perhaps I should make this the benchmark by which to measure any slippage into senility, and instruct my GP to make a note in my records to ask the appropriate question every few years?