I BELIEVE that laughter is the bedrock of firm friendships. Abiding memories of my time living in Bermuda involve laughter, endless parties, glorious dark rum and yet more laughter. The people I shared my life with in that wonderful place are still, 40 years on, among my best and most trusted friends, even though continents separate us. There was the small matter of work, but that was a mere detail and we never let it get in the way of our total immersion in a sybaritic lifestyle. It was the perfect place for unattached, fun-loving young people and we truly did live every day to the full. The speed limit on the island was 15mph in town but a hair-raising 20mph elsewhere, and with its subtropical climate most of us got around by motorised two wheeled means. In my case a sporty Suzuki trail bike boasting a hefty 100cc’s. One Sunday afternoon as we were leaving a regular beach bar haunt, with my good friend Douglas riding pillion, I inadvertently slipped the clutch with too much beer induced vigour, resulting in the front end rearing up at an alarming angle. With my passenger biting my ear, we unwittingly executed the perfect wheelie as we tore down the drive. The spectacle brought the patrons to their feet, whistling and applauding our brilliant skills. We acknowledged their enthusiastic whooping, and drove off home for a change of underwear, this time a little more sedately. Four of us shared a house and one housemate, fed up with the jibes at his lack of prowess with a fishing rod, left a small nurse shark crammed into the fridge with a note attached: ‘Caught by Graham Saturday!’ When he returned home late the following day, he discovered a head and a tail with a note saying: ‘Eaten by Doug, Rick and Colin Sunday.’ And when arriving home in the early hours after yet another mad party, and somewhat worse for wear, I brushed my teeth with the foulest tasting toothpaste I had ever experienced. On closer inspection the next morning, I found it to be a tube of haemorrhoid cream. Nobody admitted the switch (although I suspect Douglas), but to this day I automatically check the tube before brushing. It makes us appreciate our friends here in Spain in today’s increasingly hostile world.
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