I left work at 5.30 and drove to pick up some friends to take them to Bolton for a farewell barbie. The farewell was a send off for my, now Japan resident, co-writer and friend - a man who has had tons of farewell parties, in various cities, and this was the first I'd actually attended.
There was some hanging around in Newcastle, some unpacking of a car into a house, as one of my travelling partners was moving house as I was supposed to be picking him up. Then we set off. After a brief stint driving through the centre of Bolton, we hit the right area, bought far too much food in the Tesco and went to the venue of the party. I parked my car there for the night (we were a short walk from where we were sleeping) and started playing catch-up on the beers.
We had a great barbie. Over the course of the night, I managed to counsel many young women. That sounds in some way pervy or wrong, but it's quite the opposite. For some reason, my avuncular presence and confident way was proving quite a source of comfort for some of the girls at the party. I think they must have noticed me giving one of their number a pep talk and thought that that was my purpose. I was the person to talk to about life-worries. I did my best. At the end of the day, you have to do what you can in this world and stay optimistic.