|Me, Jon, Paul, and Wayne...|
As the start of my 'official' birthday week, Paul had said he'd take Rachel and I to the IMAX in London yesterday.
Only, once I got to the Big Smoke and we went for a pre-movie drink, it turned out that he'd actually spent the last six months organising a surprise party for me with a load of my uni buddies, that I hadn't seen since last year's reunion.
People had travelled hundreds of miles to get there. Rosie and Midge had spent five hours getting from Exeter, Jon had come down from Norfolk, Wayne had travelled up from Brighton.
I was unbelievably touched by the whole shindig. By the time Rosie and Midge rolled up I nearly burst into tears, as I'd been told they weren't able to make it.
There was even a cake, decorated with a picture of me in my Spider-Man Christmas onesie, along with a picture of the real Spider-Man for comparison.
The reunion was funny, entertaining, and generally wonderful.
|Me, Pricey, and Wayne...|
One of the many highlights of the day was Wayne, now a professional photographer, taking a series of amazing portraits of us all. An experience heightened by, later, the appearance in the sky of fireworks for The Lord Mayor's Show that made a stunning backdrop for Wayne's pictures.
Hopefully I'll soon be able to share some of these with you, as (seen on the display of Wayne's quality camera) they were true works of art.
It was also interesting to realise how much my outlier geekiness is drifting into the accepted norm: Jon was telling me about one of mates who organised a big gaming convention in Norfolk, while Rosie mentioned that a friend of hers was Boo Cook, the 2000AD artist, who'd done some publicity artwork for one of the plays that she and Midge's theatre group put on.
I'll confess that by the end of the day I was, to quote The Fast Show, "very, very drunk" (Hey, I don't drink much these days), but the whole event had been incredibly moving.
I'm still slightly in awe that not only did Paul organise this and keep it a secret from me, but that my old pals were willing to travel all this way for our little get-together.
I have the best friends.
And this is only the start of my 50th birthday week of celebrations...
|Midge and Rosie...|