I helped a friend move into her new home today. It was lots of fun shopping for the cottage, eating our first meal there together, helping her decide where to put lamps, bowls, books, candles....
It reminded me of the fun I had preparing to move into my first home after university.
my friend's new home looking lovely
(pic by K Jenkins)
I was starting a new job on a newspaper in Worcester and quickly realised that it was actually going to cost a lot more than I had thought to rent somewhere nice to live. In fact somewhere nice was well out of my price range so I settled on a bedsit in a recently converted Victorian house.
I was the first to move in, quickly followed by another young girl using it as a temporary home while planning her wedding to her squaddie boyfriend.
Then a bearded engineering student from Newcastle moved in while he did a 6-month placement in a nearby factory.
Then, 9 young Mormon men.
Yes - you heard right - 9 Mormons, all in their late teens and early 20's complete with black suits and briefcases, visiting from the US doing what I gather is a traditional stint of missionary work.
They were all very lovely but always seemed a bit nervous around me and the other residents - probably since we spent most of our time drinking, partying and cackling inappropriately.
They spent their days walking the streets on missionary work and their evenings baking, playing the guitar or praying. They always invited us politely to join them and we thanked them equally politely, declined and headed for whatever pub or club was planned for that evening.
One memorable Saturday night the three of us non-Mormons had gone out to a bar in the city where we imbibed a bit too much falling over water and maybe got into a teeny weeny bit of a fight.
Trouble is you see -and I know this will come as a bit of a shock - I am a bit gobby at the best of times and distinctly lairy after a drink or four.
Some bloke sitting at an open window in a bar made some nasty comment about my friend's appearance as we walked past. I made some smart-arse comment back and the bloke chucked the remains of his pint out of the window at me. I reached in through the window, grabbed his friends full pint and chucked it right back at him. Scared I am not. Stupid? Well maybe, but not stupid enough to hang around while the now enraged bloke found his way to the door of the bar and out after us...
Worcester in summer
Worcester in summer (Photo credit: James-Hetherington)
Anyway, we beat a hasty retreat. My friend and I were wearing matching white lycra dresses (before you say anything, in my defence it was the 1980s) and I quickly realised the night out was over as both of our outfits were now wet, brown and stinking of beer.
We headed back to the house and being drunk, young and slim enough not to have the body inhibitions I do now we both stripped our dresses off as we headed through the kitchen to the communal bathroom which was downstairs. The kitchen was filled with Mormon men, chatting and baking.
They immediately stopped talking and watched us strut through in our stilletos and skimpies, open mouthed in shock. I've since learned they have a very strict code of conduct involving their contact with women before marriage so they almost certainly had never seen half naked girls up close in their kitchen before.
I never did get to find out what they thought of my friend and I heading into the bathroom together as the very next day they all moved out!
A quarter of a century later the memory makes me cringe a little - but you have to admit it's a good anecdote.
Today I wish my friend good luck in her new life in her new home. I can't say I'll never be drunk in her kitchen but I can promise her that I will never again wear white lycra!

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