165. MGFS

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The Spring Equinox this year was on March 20. The pagans and the Wiccans name it Ostara, as their mark of when the light is again equal to the darkness, and the natural world is coming alive.

Two days later, I met my old school-mates Alan Campbell, John Madden and Tony Palmer for a day out at the Royal Horticultural Society gardens of Hyde Hall, located around 4 miles south-east of Chelmsford (Blog 120).

The gardens were far from their best, but still provided treats for the eye.

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And some panoramic views of surrounding countryside.

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Sparked off by John, we have been keeping ourselves amused and in touch for the best part of a year via electronic communications on WhatsApp. We call ourselves the MGFs, short for Mainly Ginger Fuckers. As you can see, this is an optimistic, nostalgic moniker.

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It’s all about the wit. On a good day, John and Tony (4th and 3rd, right to left) can probably surpass Peter Cook and Dudley Moore for quality of repartee. Few taboos or PC concerns hinder their flow. At some stage, Al and I will cry tears of laughter at the genius we are witness to. We both have our moments, but are only halfway up Kilimanjaro, whereas our two pals sit atop Everest.

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I don’t know what everybody else was discussing in the luncheon hall and the café, but can guarantee it will not have strayed into the dark but fecund soil that constitutes MGF territory. It brings the risk of being arrested, or dying prematurely by laughing yourself to death.

‘Normal’ conversation also featured. AI, politics, family, retirement and whether the planet can survive humanity. Gluten-free dieting and Southend United’s chances of avoiding relegation to League Two. May and Trump. The Asian economic boom and the price of fish.

But always, with each utterance, ears were pricked for opportunities to inject humour and score points. I’m never going to be in the top league, but have left a hopeful suggestion that we tweak the group name to MGFILFs.

Great day. I count myself lucky to know these guys.

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