Archive for the 'tradition' Category

Middle class heroes


Getting a bunch of mid-twenties professionals together in the same place at the same time for 3 days in a row is impressive enough. Getting near 30 of us together for a weekend to Scotland is even more so.

Originally planned as a stag do, it became more of an anti-stag-do for reasons I’ll not go into but it did provide us all with a fixed date and tickets for a major international sporting event. We booked all this in August. Perhaps that’s the only way to get us all together by planning six months in advance.

The only other real time we get together seems to be either weddings, when we’re all dressed quite nicely and behave rather dignified and polite and also when we stay in wee Phil’s house in Donegal and we live on our jammies and insult each other at close quarters. You need the variety really.

img_0092Due to quite remarkable forethought and planning (praise and glory to dear Jose, G and the conspicuously absent Office) 24 of us ended up on the same flight and picked up at the airport by the mighty Raymond (there was of course a Sparky inspired version of Raymondo sung to the tune of Abba’s Fernando…) in his fun bus. Staying in what i can only consider a rather posh hotel in the very centre of Glasgow overlooking George Square. It must be posh, Fred Elliot from Corrie was staying there.

I don’t mean to be harsh on Glasgow as a city, only being there a very brief period of time but to be honest George Square seemed to be the most pretty bit of it. But i stand to be corrected.


The focal point of the weekend was a decidedly poor Ireland beating Scotland at Murrayfield. Despite the cold and long beer queues it was a quality day out. My ticket was in a different stand from the others but fortuitously put me beside a good mate, a kid who work shadowed in A&E a few weeks ago, a girl from the year below me in medical school and a guy i used to climb hills with. All independent of each other but all within 2 rows.


Beyond the day-trip to the rugby we weren’t particularly adventurous, staying in the hotel all evening and having a lovely meal and some lovely whisky, and some even more lovely conversation. Cause we don’t all get together that often we are undestandably insular when we are together.

My lasting memory will be a conversation about the evolved role and position of the human reproductive system. Bert’s justification for the grouping of the waste disposal system with the reproductive system (which has always seemed a tad odd to me) was that it was good to keep all the “occasional activities” in the one place. No Victorian prudery here eh?

In the morning spent so long sitting in the one seat reading the Sunday Times that I briefly developed a pressure sore.

I got through 200 pages of Churchill (quote of the day, on declaration of war on Japan – “some people did not like the ceremonial style, but after all when you have to kill a man it costs nothing to be polite…”) It was certainly a laid back day.

Home with vague plans for next year (having had a group trip two st. paddys’ weekends in a row it is now a firmly established tradition to be maintained in perpetuity) involving cruisers on lough erne or an isolated cottage in the highlands. An established tradition would be most welcome.

We all grow older, and change in lots of ways. We are no longer banter hungry students (though we all remain banter hungry and some even remain students). We are the white collars of society – these people do all kinds of cool things that make me proud even to be in there presence.

There is a (much welcomed says I) increase in couples in the group and a wonderful comfort (at least I think so) in the relationships amongst that horrible created divide between couples and singles.

We are a lot more forgiving and gracious than perhaps we used to be. The usual bit of getting older and realising how important we all are to each other, with the accompanying fear of how easily we could all lose each other.

I think back on what has passed in the interim year for me and it does not generally make for a pleasant read – everything has changed. I am certainly not who I used to be, in most ways not in a good way, but perhaps I am not the one to judge that.

Being surrounded by so many who I know and  love and who know and love me throws your personality and change into sharp relief. It is smothering. In the nicest, most important kind of way. I find the group/social situation difficult and painful in so many ways, though at the same time I would not miss it for the world.

I regret to say that I am better company in the written word than in person.


July 2022