Friends Reunited…

Aside from the people who work at them and perhaps the very frequent flyers, but for most of us, airports remain comparatively exciting places. As a transport hub at least. More exciting than train stations anyway (warmer?) and definitely more alluring than a bus terminus with its vending machines and toilets which rarely have the holy trinity: working lock, toilet paper and soap.

Airports have much more in their favour besides the globe and its most glamorous destinations all within reach. There is something energising about hanging out in a terminal with people bound for Honolulu or Tahiti even if we are bound for Leeds/Bradford. Eating and shopping features high on people’s lists of favourite things-to-do and airports usually have this down.

Airports demand punctuality which might explain why they are over represented with opportunities to purchase watches. Mostly luxury boutiques, selling watches constrained by the same time that binds us all, yet somehow at a whacking premium.

And perfumes of course, surely the greatest waste of money of all with so much shelled out for so little. Logically, a flight should be the most fragrant place we ever encounter since half the passengers have just emptied testers over their wrists and necks. And yet we can’t smell anything on a flight; proof that our money is better spent elsewhere.

Airports offer glamour too with the chance to star gaze. Celebrities I mean, not celestial. And our own entrance in to the arrival’s hall is our little glimpse of being in the spotlight with the excited hoards waiting and all eyes upon us.

Airport reunions are common and are lovely to observe. I like to estimate how long the separation has been judging by the tears, hugs and cheers. Some people bring banners and balloons which they probably all regret at some point – the disposing of at least?

And airport surprises too. I like surprising people. That time I flew to Thailand to surprise Sam and Harry for their birthday and to coincide with Tom’s wrap party on The Impossible. Maybe I was worried it might be his last?

And so to Monday morning this week at Heathrow airport to meet one of my oldest and friends off a flight from Australia. His trip has been hastily arranged and made more complicated by Covid which continues to turn our world upside down. He was scheduled to land at 7am and I would be waiting for him – but then he called with news that his flight had been brought forward. A new 5am arrival (stupid-o-clock) and he bravely (kindly) stood me down for a taxi instead and immediately I spied an opportunity for a happy surprise. Happy for me to see him and presumably for him also with a hefty taxi fare saved.

Bleary eyed, I waited in the hall, my excitement building but also my sense of ambivalence.

Some men seem to have loads of friends. Typically, the types of men who play team sports or company men with years at the same firm. Or just organised types who have the energy and ability to keep in touch and can be bothered to do so.

I am none of the above. Nikki organises my life. Holidays, dinners outs, weekends…

In fact, the only thing I am solely responsible for is being funny. Being funny in the right place, at the correct time and for the agreed number of minutes.

As such, there are lots of people in my life I am very fond of and friendly with, but I have few genuinely close friends and they all extend back to my inglorious school and college days. Four lads in particular; our bond is stronger I think for the formative life landmarks that we experienced together.

Which is why I was excited at Heathrow airport and desperately sad. My friend has made the longest journey possible – Sydney to London – because this Friday we will bury a mate we have known for over 40 years.

A happy reunion for two old school mates but underpinned by hurt. We will have a nice week ahead. Drinking in the London pubs that we used to all frequent and then on Friday we will wave him off. A lovely guy who we loved and very despondent to lose far too soon.



Michael Tapia

22.09.65 – 12.11.21


Michael was responsible for much of my output, this blog included. Many years ago, sitting in our local pub and discussing an idea tentatively titled Eclipsed, Michael said that sounds like a blog to me and this is how we’re going to do it…


Please excuse the image of Tess as the featured image. It is only being used because everything else I could find is less than 200 pixels and I am generally hopeless with technology.












10 thoughts on “Friends Reunited…

  1. Tammy Yates says:

    Wasn’t expecting that. Sitting here with tears in my eyes at 6:30 in the morning for a man I’ve never met. I’m so very sorry for the loss of your friend. Much too young.

  2. Yuna says:

    Hi,dom ,great blog
    I also thought that spider man on the way home was going to be the last one .so I understand you when you felt the impossible was the last one I’m glad it wasn’t .have a great week

  3. Antonieta Alanis says:

    Que Descanse en Paz su amigo y los siento mucho! Y es difícil cuando el grupo de amigos va reduciendo, dejan un gran vacío pero el corazón lleno de grandes anécdotas y recuerdos.
    Un abrazo fuerte y que Dios les mande pronta resignación a la familia y a ustedes como sus amigos!!

  4. Derek Shakespeare says:

    Fine words Dominic, and recounted so movingly,about a former classmate that I recall as being such a decent guy. May he rest in peace.

  5. Lorraine says:

    Such a thoughtful blog Dom. It’s hard to loose a friend, especially when it’s a long standing friendship. It is definitely the case that Michael was taken too soon and my condolences to his family and friends. He was obviously held in high regard that someone would travel so far to be there. I hope you remember the good times that keep you all connected. Safe journey to your friend when he returns to Australia. RIP Michael.

  6. Jo Tomlinson says:

    Sorry to hear you have lost a friend. I got a lump in my throat when I read towards the end as I attended the funeral of an old friend myself on Friday, she was 42 and taken far too soon by covid (together with underlying health issues). My favourite thing about my her was her dry sense of humour and her laugh which I sadly hadn’t heard for many years due to covid and also due to seemingly busy lives, our families met when we were part of a local theatre group in the late 80’s. I now feel the urge to hop on a plane or train myself and visit friends and family I haven’t seen in ages. Always nice to read your blog, despite the sadness of this one.

  7. Kristen Hayes says:

    I’m so sorry to hear of the loss of your dear friend; far too young, indeed. May the wonderful memories help heal the sadness in your heart.

  8. Moony says:

    I’ve recently lost a dear friend of mine, that I’ve known since the 7th grade. It tore my heart out and I miss her terribly! I’m so sorry for your loss and my heartfelt condolences, Dom! ???

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