Friends

Saturday 19 August, 2000

I arrived yesterday at the hotel in Brighton after a walk along the seafront. The others turned up in a trickle of people over the next few hours. It’s Ed’s stag weekend. We all gathered in the bar and immediately slotted into the friendships we have forged over the last 10 years. It was great to see everyone and from then on the whole weekend just flowed.

We (there are 18 of us) went out drinking and dancing. During the evening I had two or three chats with Chiran. He told me he had been looking forward to the weekend and in particular to seeing me. That was lovely. I always enjoy talking to Chiran.

Back at the hotel, a group of us carried on chatting well into the small hours. It was wonderful to be part of such a group of lads. The atmosphere was great and I laughed (mostly at Sonny’s stories) until I was too tired to carry on.

Today is a beautiful day and, as I write, the boys are out powerboating. I have found some time and space to myself on the beach. I need it because the group is a bit boisterous. Hopefully they’ll have calmed down a bit after some fun in the sea. It’s wonderful to be amongst them but one large group of 18 is less preferable than those same people moving about forming and reforming smaller groups – that’s how it was yesterday.

We went to the pub this afternoon for some food and a couple of beers, then a lie down for an hour or two before embarking on the next adventure – the restaurant. Some of the boys didn’t get back from the afternoon session until late but, as was the nature of the weekend, there was no stress, no problems, just a seamless flow of relaxed people enjoying each other’s company.

All it took was four of us to get a taxi to the restaurant and let the people know that the other 14 are on their way. We had a brilliant time. After dinner we moved on to the same club as last night. Elliot’s brother runs the club so we were able, on both nights, to walk straight in. Ideal. Tonight was even better than last night and I stayed until the end.

Afterwards I walked back to the hotel and sat with everyone in the bar. I talked to a couple of girls and got drawn into a conversation which started to head towards confrontation. However, once I realised what was happening, I diffused any atmosphere I may have created and let the conversation fade.

Whilst part of the scenario included the old me (confrontational), there were definite signs of the progress I have made: realising my position, calming the dialogue and getting out quietly. Ultimately I want to avoid getting sucked in at all, but for the time being I’m doing very well. Went to bed shortly after (about 5.30am ) and slept well.


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