My CV proudly boasts that I can organise a p…..party in a brewery. Not only can, but have. In the fine brewing hall at Tetley’s, above the lautertuns. The acoustics were incredible!
So organising my own leaving do shouldn’t have been too much of a stretch. A drinking place, an eating place, a place to shake hands, hug, air kiss and kiss and a place to make speeches.
I’ve said before, I’m very good at big picture, concepts and ideas. The detail is a bit more of a struggle, but I can do it if I put my mind to it. If I really have to.
The magic of the internet worked wonders. A bar I’d been to more than once, possibly even twice, opposite Pizza Express. Plenty of parking, staggering distance to the station. The www confirmed they both had great reviews. Robert was indeed my mother’s brother.
I planned to turn up early, just to make sure I could be waiting in the comfy seats, beer in hand, anecdotes at the ready. A lot’s happened in the 16 years I’ve been in the NHS, much of it enjoyable, some of it hilarious, some infuriating and recently all of it stressful, hence my departure into a new world. I’d allowed plenty of time to share these with anyone who cared to listen.
It should have twigged as I crossed the fabulous gardens and the warm neon of Bar Med wasn’t beckoning that something was amiss.
There was no neon, warm or otherwise and there was no Bar Med.
The dirty windows and tumbleweed blowing across the front told me there probably hadn’t been a Bar Med for some time. Two years, it turned out. No-one had thought to tell the internet.
Dozens of people would turn up, gasping for drinks – I was there, alone, with only a trusty mobile and carrier bag with my new purchases (you can’t go to Leeds and not shop for shoes).
The first guests arrived – and if I could have wished for it to have been one person, it would have been Laura. Soon to be awarded with The Most Organised Person InThe World medal. Laura texted some of the guests, Becky gallantly volunteered to find another hostelry. A sacrifice, but someone had to do it. That done, they headed off while I waited for others whose numbers I didn’t have to arrive.
Enter Mark and John who announced, without a hint of irony, that there was no bar there.. the people at Pizza Express had told them.
Yes, I said, so it seems.
After a little friendly banter and possibly some snickering, it was clear that the leaving do was going on at a pub up the road without the leaver. Elvis hadn’t left the building, he hadn’t even arrived.
I dashed across to Pizza Express and cadged a box to use for a BIG notice to redirect anyone turning up. Nothing if not resourceful.
Mark and John lent a hand. Kind of. Mark pointed out that the notice on the nearby bin warned that the fine for littering was £75 and the Leatherman I used to cut holes in the box could be considered an offensive weapon.
John’s helpfulness stretched to recording it all on camera. MY camera. Just to add insult to injury. I sacrificed the plastic handles from my carrier bag and delegated it to Mark to carry – served him right for asking just HOW I was going to get it to the pub. Shoes are heavy in multiple purchases…
The party was well under way when I got there. Everyone found us, at least I assume they did – maybe there are some poor souls still wandering the back streets of Leeds.
The rest of the evening went as planned, pretty much….
Speech time came. I’ve had it written in my head for a long time, all the happy times, the good friends, the lovely people. The unhappy times, let’s skip over that, shall we? It’s a new start. Good friends stay with you wherever you are.
Cheers everyone. And thank you. Thank you all who came or who wanted to come. I was touched and moved.
Today’s lovely thing
Knowing that when I say ‘I won’t lose touch’, that I won’t.