The here and now and a bit of way back then

I relived my journey to 40 and found there's so much more to say

Let me tell you about……..Mrs Cor Blimey

on January 16, 2014

I don’t know when I first noticed it but she’s the only real live person I know who actually says ‘Cor Blimey!’ Though without the ‘Guvna’ on the end I should add. I think the only other person I may have ever heard say this is Dick Van Dyke’s Bert in classic family favourite Christmas film ‘Mary Poppins’ and that apparently wasn’t vaguely authentic. Though it never spoils my enjoyment of the film. I suppose if someone isn’t making a hash job of your own regional accent then it doesn’t bother you as much.

Not long after moving to London Town where the streets are paved with gold, I found myself temping for a couple of months. The work wasn’t exactly mind boggling but the two jobs I did led me to meet two very special people.

Temping is that weird state of being where you’re neither here nor there in any work place. You sort of anonymously appear in the office, get told what to do, monotonously get on with it and leave. People can choose to talk to you or more often than not, don’t. Why expend energy on the people who aren’t committed to full time gainful employment of filing and data inputting?

So I find myself temping for the Environmental Health Department of a London Borough Council. Actually, from this experience I should never have eaten out at any culinary establishment in this Borough ever! If you really want to know where the best places are to go and eat, forget the Hardens guide, befriend an Environmental Health Inspector. It wasn’t really an office buzzing with youth and so the only other person I noticed who looked to be of similar age was Mrs Cor Blimey.

Except she seemed to be really diligent about her work and always looked busy. I think I felt envious that she was obviously doing something much more interesting than filing and data inputting. Perhaps she was inspired by the office shindig we got to attend commemorating the Team Manager’s 25 years of service. At the time he was only a couple of years older than we are now.

Then I noticed she’d be absent from the office at irregular times. I suppose it would take only another temp to see these things with the regular gainfully employed people not paying us the slightest bit of attention. Then one afternoon, I happened to pass her by when she returned from one of her irregular lunch hour jaunts and offered some words of commiseration at how terribly late she was getting her lunch overwhelmed with the demands of sending out letters requesting cooker hobs to be so shiny you could floss your teeth in them (not a recommended code of practice in an eating establishment actually). To which she replied ‘Do you think anyone else noticed I’ve been on my second lunch break?’. I knew it! That dilligent, get on with it quietly act was all a cunning ruse for sneaky Christmas shopping expeditions. So there began the start of our now 14 year friendship.

If I could relive my early London years and choose a flat mate to live with then I think it would be her. I think she would have been a great one to have. I’d definitely teach her how to cook rice properly. Between the two of us, I may seem more outgoing but she’s the quietly resilient one. She’s the one who lived the London house shares in Golders Green and Tufnell Park whereas I have only shared with people I know. She’s the one who saved up to take a year out travelling the world gathering wonderful experiences. She’s the one who worked so hard renovating a house in the evenings whilst getting up at 5am to commute into London. A beautiful home it now is too. A proper grown ups place.

Meeting Mrs Cor Blimey, my first independent friend in London was a big step in really helping me establish a new life in London. A beautiful cosmopolitan city of opportunity and excitement but where’s the fun if you don’t have friends to hang out with? Moving to London after six years of a stable and steady stream of friends at University and in Manchester was a surprise to say the least. Being at the start of starting again can be a scary place to be. Especially amongst 7 million people in London who look like they belong there. Who don’t marvel at the sight of St Paul’s Cathedral or Tower Bridge every time you pass by.

So when you start meeting people to enjoy London with, it makes all the difference. It makes that colourful, exuberant City come to life. Where shall we meet for drinks Mrs Cor Blimey? Covent Garden? Soho? Kentish Town? Fancy going clubbing? Watch a film in Camden? It’s fun to be young in London. In a really bizarre twist of fate, she also knew my other friend Muffin I talked about last month! We’d been to visit separately in the same week, talking about going out at the weekend with each other!

It’s funny what you make of opportunities that come your way. Temping was just something to see me through when I needed it but I’m glad I did as I met a really good friend out if it. In another bizarre twist of fate, Mrs Cor Blimey also hit it off with Mrs Calamari who I met in the other temp job I did. We both went on Mrs Calamari’s Hen Do, a disco boat down the River Thames!

She is exceptional in so many ways and I really enjoy her company. One of the few women who have celebrated many a special occasion with me as well as all those regular meet ups and telephone calls that help friendships along. I’m still sad though that I missed out on her Wedding Day and that was tough but I hope she knows just how much I was thinking of her. She looked absolutely stunning and I was so proud to see the photos of her looking incredibly happy.

So 14 years later and neither of us are still living in London. We both have young families now and coincidentally our older girls share the same first name and our youngest two girls are born just two days apart. I feel like we’re just coasting along until we’re back in the same country again. Instead of meeting up in London, it’ll be other places. Where shall we go camping? (For if ever I’m to do camping then it had better be with people who know what it’s all about.) What are you up to next month? Come and stay! I’m really looking forward to getting to know her children and being around her again. I’ve missed her all the time I’ve been away. She’s just lovely, down to earth and good to be around.

Today is Mrs Cor Blimey’s Birthday and I’m sure she’ll be enjoying a special day with her family. Today is also her husband’s birthday too and he’ll have something special planned. He always does for Mrs Cor Blimey. I wish them both a very Happy Birthday.

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