Recently I had a day off from work (not that I needed it, with the events of the last 4-5 months!!) and met up with a couple of friends; the Captain and the Boss.
Now the Captain I see on a regular basis. He lives near to me and works in the same office as I do. As I've mentioned before, he's like a brother and is always there with good advice when needed.
The Boss on the other hand, I had not seen for a year. He went walkabout last March and was nowhere to be found. He was following his own journey, searching for the way and I admired that. When he recently surfaced, I found out he was in the armed forces and is now getting ready to be deployed to Afghanistan. I think he's finally found some peace within himself and it's a great thing to see. This guy will always be like a brother and after speaking for a few minutes we fell back into a smooth groove of conversation with ease.
Meeting up with these 2, we talked about lots of good times from the past. Mischief we had got up to and road trips long forgotten, that had since been replaced by new memories. Every time we remembered something that had us laughing, we would be shocked to realise it happened 5 years ago or more. Where had the time gone?
The Captain and the Boss are 2 polar opposites, yet when you know them as well as I do, you can see how similar they actually are. The 2 of them would often fight like cat and dog and were forever falling out with each other. But I do believe deep down, they genuinely cared and still do, care for one another.
My first ever road/surf trip was undertaken with these two. This was about 9 years ago and would become a template for a period of about 5 years in our early 20's. We had Easter trips that became traditional; the Good Friday and Easter Sunday sessions. Then there was the September Sessions, forever ingrained in memory from the house sized waves coming in and the broken boards that greeted our arrival. Finally our swansong was the summer the Boss lived out of his car in Croyde Bay for 5 months and we regularly criss-crossed the westcountry looking for different breaks.
I clearly remember one Good Friday 5 years ago. The weather was cold, the sky looked miserable and I had agreed to drive us down at 6am. Obviously I thought it was a great idea to go out the night before. The clock struck 6 and on cue the Captain drove round having already collected the Boss. After hanging out my bedroom window to greet them and receiving my dressing down from the Captain for not being anywhere near ready, I was pleased to notice the Boss was also in a semi-comatose hangover condition. Being in no fit state to drive, the Captain had to take my keys and drive us to Devon, picking up Merlin on the way.
I'll always remember those 6 hours spent in the car. Pulling over in deepest Dorset to allow me and the Boss to throw up on what we then dubbed hangover hill, the Boss and Merlin having a waterfight and then a foodfight in the back of the car, my pair of gloves being used to torture, touch, stroke and irritate our designated driver repeatedly from the back of the car, the 4 of us lasting 30 minutes in the water before our eyeballs froze over, my refusal to drive my own car, the pit stops at McDonalds and the race against time to get back for a night out in Winchester.
The 3 of us spent a good few hours laughing and remembering those memories, along with others - the Boss breaking his arm skateboarding (when we were 25!), our first attempts at bbq-ing and using vodka as lighter fuel, our first mountain bike rides, the Boss cooking burgers on his car engine at 8am, discovering an old concrete skate bowl from the 70's, how we funded the September Sessions on 'dubiously' obtained petrol in a jerry can, finding an abandoned boat in a car park, strapping it to the roof of a pickup and selling it on ebay to fund another month of surfing and a random night out in the westcountry with only £20 to our name, which involved befriending a newly released prisoner, hitch hiking and then blagging a taxi ride for miles free of charge, whilst fending off the unfriendly advances of the local Royal Marines!
I got the Captain's wife to take a photo of the 3 of us. Although times have now changed and moved on - we may never experience another road trip together and I may never surf with either of these boys again - that photo will always freeze a single moment in time and remind me of the things we shared and the sights we have seen together.
I will always remember our camping and surf trips, the skateboarding at night in summer, riding through the woods and forest on a dry evening, sitting by the fire swapping war stories, our road trip snack of choice - mini cheddars, sleeping in the back of the Boss's pick up and waking on the cliff to see beautiful clean lines of swell......but most of all, with 2 people like brothers, I'll always remember the 3 legs of the tripod.