There is nothing like a trawl through an address book to make you feel nostalgic. It's also had the added effect of making me realise just how things have changed over the last few years.
I'm slowly getting ready of this trip overseas. As I'm taking off in twelve days there is quite a bit to do, but being the anal, spread-sheeting harpy I can be, I'm ticking things off the list. It's nearly finished. There's still a few things to do - like organise my money, pack and finally get on the plane, but all the arrangements are pretty much in place.
There's very little to do really. The only things I'm having difficulty preparing is the England leg of the trip. Five days at the start of November. It's not that bad really, I'm just being an anal cow.
So far, England is looking like this. Catching up with friends on the first two days, Gareth and Georgina, who were in Australia earlier in the year - that will be fine once can get hold of them on the phone.They know I'm coming, I'm pretty sure they have the dates, I just have to get the pick up details in order - do I go to St Albans Station or will Gareth pick me up - not too hard at all.
Day Three, I'm off to Bath, no dramas there, the hotel is booked for the night, just have to rock up to Paddington Station - maybe look at the timetables before I go so I'm all set for a not to long a wait.
The last time I was in Bath was about fourteen years ago. I'd gone for a long weekend with Gareth, as friends. I don't remember that much of the trip though I know I wasn't good for much as my father had died in the month before. I just remember being numb and eating Sally Lunn buns and thinking the place was pretty. I'm hoping to get some good memories this time around.
Day Four, back to London in the afternoon, again, booked into a hotel near Waterloo, so that's sorted. Rather than get into an argument with friends this time over where I'm staying, I've gone the four star hotel option. I might try catch up with friends, or go see a play, or mooch around, or have a bit of a rest that afternoon, I don't know - it's my second to last day abroad and I'm going to enjoy.
The last day will be spent with a friend down in Surrey, just south of the M25. Verity and I have been friends for over fifteen years. She lives in this wonderful 400 year old cottage and she used to have a cat that though the sun shone out of my bum. We've seen each other through a lot and though we don't talk that often, I always make the attempt to see her when I'm over there.
Verity's been having a rather rough trot of late, so when I called earlier in the year to tell her of my pending visit, she cautiously said that she may not be able to meet. That was fine with me, no drama, and said I'd call nearer the time, see what's going, if it happen it happens, if not, next time. Getting her life sorted was more important.
As it's about a month out until I get to England, I made the call last night, just to see if she was able to meet. Things are on the improve for V. We'll talk when I get there, but it looks like I'll be heading down to hers for the day and she'll drop me at Heathrow for the flight back.
Thing is, when you don't call somebody very often, you have to dig out their number. For me, most of this sort of information is kept in my diary for 2003. A tome I don't delve into very often.
Other than my own phone number there are only three I know by heart. My mother's. My sister's. And Lachlan's - though I never ring it. Everybody else is programmed into my phone.
Flicking through the pages of this book, I see the remnants of what turned out to be a seminal year. I can't believe that who I was is so not the person I am now. The 2003 version of me was moving to Greece. There are notes in Greek throughout the diary. Numbers of people I've never seen again. The bloke from Wonthaggi I was seeing on the side for a bit, never to be heard from after I got back, the birthday of a fellow I last saw a traffic lights a few years ago, the number of a friend who's had two husbands since.Some people had moved countries, moved houses, or moved on from my life. Others are still where I left them. It was an interesting experience in memory.
The 2003 version of me didn't have much of a clue.
Looking at the dates, March 2003, fly out, stay with Lachlan before flying to Athens. Oh dear, that time, where I'd moved to Greece for six months as a holiday rep on Santorini and the company had neglected to sort a working visa out for me beforehand, which meant staying more than three months was out of the question - let alone getting paid. The European Union had kicked in for the first time in Greece (though some say it still flaunts many of the rules)
Oh, and Lachlan has played with my head back at this point. Give him a few months he said. We were supposed to be together. Just wait. When I got back to England in October 2003 we would be together.
I left Greece in June after three months of bumming around Mykonos where the company had sent me, free of charge, while they worked out what to do with me. Back in England for a few days, then back here to Australia. I only got to speak to Lachlan as I was leaving the country.
Eight years later, I'm still waiting for him to front.
The 2003 trip taught me so much. How not to compromise. How to not go back. How to get myself out of sticky situations. And most importantly, how to behave when somebody treats you badly - which is to not give them an inch.
Strangely, this trip on which I'm about to embark has a similar feel to it as that fateful trip in 2003.
Though there is no Lachlan playing with my heart and no dodgy job offer in a beautiful paradise (saying this, I'm not that fond of Santorini - it's a vapid beauty. Give my Mykonos or Naxos any time) it feels like this trip will have me walking through another gateway.
May it be so.