One of the very best things about moving back from the other side of the world to Surrey is being back amongst the family and friends who have known us forever and a day. A few weeks ago I caught up with a few of my friends who I went to senior school with - I've known most of these girls (because in my head that is what we still are) for 25 years. We've drifted in and out of touch over that time, some I have kept in constant contact with, others I only speak to when we have one of these catch ups, but none the less, it's like you take it back up right where you left off the last time you spoke, and you might just as well have seen each other yesterday. I shared the highs and lows of teenage life with these girls, we fell in and out of friendships and supported, advised and cheered each other on as we fell in and out of love, then as we went on to gain our educations, explore the world, wed our true loves, advance our careers, and bear our offspring. Bridesmaids, godmothers, and mums night out cheeky collaborators. We know each others families, are familiar with each others childhood houses, and remember (and can thankfully laugh about) those times that were probably best forgotten.
The last time we all got together was almost 4 years ago - everything and nothing has changed in that time. We no longer meet in the pub, but instead in a farm so there is space where our children, a vastly female majority, can run and play and build their own friendships while we chat. It is so strange to look at these children and see them moving closer and closer to being the young girls that we were when we first met, especially when you can see the reflections of their mums, their looks, their mannerisms, in each and every one of them.
And then the group shot... we were determined to get a group shot but I hadn't wanted to haul my tripod around with me all day, so I carefully set up my camera on the top of the pushchair, lined everyone up, pushed the button on the timer, and ran.... but I'm still no good at sprinting so it seems, and this was the end result!