Last night, I sat cosy in my local, sipping a gin and tonic, waiting for my friends to arrive. It really was the British dream, I walked to the pub in the cool crisp autumn night air, leaving behind my house full of stress. It had been an extremely difficult week in our little home. Sleep disturbances, behaviour issues, difficulty communicating, meltdowns, fighting... and that was just me. I was comfortable waiting in the pub and happy to people watch. There were 3 generation families eating late suppers, quite a few kids, a fun tweenager who broke into full choreographed dance when Taylor Swift was played over the sound system, some shouty men and their pints (always), jolly ladies, a band setting up. I decided to send a text and see where my friends were, assuming they were on their way, I was not at all concerned.
Me: Are you here?
J: Around the corner
I looked around all the corners. I did not see them.
D: We are almost at the entrance.
It seemed strange to be almost at the entrance of a pub...
D: Where in the park are you?
WHAT?! Ha ha ha! After a few more confused texts were sent, we sorted it out that the guys had thought that I wanted to meet up at Hatherley Park. I thought we were meeting at the Hatherley (pub). Suddenly, so many things made sense! Why J had suggested that if it was raining we could go to their apartment... I was pretty sure that the roof of the pub would be adequate protection from the rain (this is England after all), but I didn't question it. Earlier in the day, J suggested that we meet up earlier than our planned time of 8 pm. No doubt he was beginning to be concerned, it is cold and very very dark at 8 pm. I declined his offer as I wanted to help with my children's bedtimes before I headed out. D packed a picnic, including wine, as I had texted that I would be walking and planned on having a drink. I did not at anytime offer to bring anything, I like that D didn't question it but just packed a drink for the lady who wants to meet at the park in the middle of the night. They must have thought I was awfully rude!
I was now laughing loudly by myself in a pub, looking at my phone. 20 minutes later, my friends arrived, slightly embarrassed yet jovial. They were apparently quite worried searching the extremely dark park for me. Thank goodness for modern technology. I would have believed that I was stood up, and they might have been murdered or at the very least fallen into the duck pond if we were not able to text each other. Imagine the Law and Order Episode. Me, "they never showed up. We were supposed to meet at the Hatherley. I don't know what happened. I waited all night." The evening went well, except for when I was about to eat a chicken wing, and I turned it over to see that there was a bite already taken out of it! Luckily, I didn't just shove it in my mouth, because, as a germaphobe, I might have fainted. Really. J started laughing hysterically as he had taken a bite out of it, thought it was too hot, and put it back. New Brunswick hospitality. Just joking, people from New Brunswick are the nicest friendliest people, I miss living there. They just aren't the best at figuring out meet up spots. I take partial responsibility, as I consider myself a half maritimer, and I did not clue in to the strange texts J was sending me as he was too polite to write, "Are you sure that you want to meet in the park in the dark and have us pack you a picnic? This doesn't sound like the best time, but if it's what you want, we will do it." Evidence that there can be just as much lost in translation when speaking with other Canadians as with Brits. Judging by last night, maybe more.
We enjoyed Pimms and snacks and a drunk man dancing his heart out to Beatles covers performed by the band. It was a great night with a lot of laughs. English pub culture is one of my favourite things about living here. There is such a feeling of community at your local. I also feel this way at my local post office, pharmacy, library. Everyone knows who I am (the accent helps), the service is excellent, and it seems that people are happy to see each other and have a little visit whilst going about their business. I am happy to live in Hatherley and meet my friends at the park and the pub, even if we don't quite know which is which.
Some proof. For my memories.
No friendships were harmed in the writing of this blog post.