Joan Crawford’s Charcoal Broiled Steak with Roquefort Sauce

I’ve just spent a glorious weekend at the seaside with 4 very old and very dear friends.  This month marks a major anniversary of the year that we as fresh faced young idiots left our family homes and went to the esteemed University of Kent at Canterbury to muck around for 3 years.

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Don’t ask me how the HELL I managed to keep that mortar board on at that jaunty angle.  Do you like the spex?  If I still had those now I’d be seen as one of the trendiest person in Muswell Hill no doubt.  Instead I look like this when I’ve flushed my contact lenses down the bathroom sink and have to wear glasses for a couple of weeks until replacements arrive. 

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As H and I discussed at some length, what has happened to us in 30 years?  Not much.

I’m disguising names (apart from Jonathan Shearer’s) from hereon in to protect the innocent.

When you hang out for a weekend with people you know really, really well but never have the chance to hang out with much anymore, you realise how WONDERFUL life is when you have lovely, kind, generous and faithful friends. Friends who will humour you when you want to get a photo of something like this…

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and will help you up when you fall over…

We talked and laughed and talked and laughed and drank copious amounts of beer.  We walked along the beach and looked at the stars outside our beloved Neptune pub in Whitstable. 

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We devoured a massive curry.  We had fish and chips looking at photos of us all very thin, and very young, and ate a full English breakfast at a pub overlooking the sea at around 10am with accompanying beers.  All of which is why I needed a vast amount of vegetables with my steak when I returned to reality.

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It was UTTERLY DELICIOUS and here is my reminder to self about cooking times for a £4 sirloin from M&S: 1 and a half minutes on each side in a frying pan then bunged under a super hot grill with the Roquefort sauce on top until melted and bubbling.  Perfect!  This is one of the recipes for the Joan Crawford cookalong.  It is a WINNER.  If you haven’t had your invite and recipes yet, email me via the Contact page…

Two of our reunion party have children who are now at University themselves, which made the reading out of P’s diaries last night all the more poignant.

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We laughed like drains as he read from his 1984 and 1985 diaries.  Although I don’t really want you to “do the math” I am assuming that you can guess from my spectacles that I was at University in the 80s.  Christ, how tempus fugit. 

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I’m assuming that P and S’s kids are being just as badly behaved as we were, throwing up in halls of residence sinks, playing pranks involving onion soup and toilet bowls, smashing light-bulbs when getting the corks out of cheap bottles of Asti Spumante and going to toga parties dressed in sheets.  If H wants to send me one of her photos of such a party, I will insert one here at a later date…

Most of the things that cracked me up in P’s diaries are not for public consumption. All I am going to say here for now is, “I got very relaxed but it’s no biggie…”

I was a bit late joining the group proper, as I didn’t meet them all until my second year.  By this time, they were all already in each others’ pockets.  I’d had  a false start after moving out from Elliot, as for some reason lost in time,  I shared a flat with someone that viewers of the BBC television series Castaway 2007 may recognise:

16d61ae628f97521025da33751dabce1ed589865It was the closest I have ever been to someone who is so far away from the norm, they may as well be from another planet.  The entertaining round the entire group of us had of “the last time I saw Jonathan Shearer he was *****” ended with my contribution: “the last time I saw Jonathan Shearer he was wielding an axe.” 

It does not surprise me at all to see from Jonathan Shearer’s Wikipedia entry that he’s been engaged five times.  But how many Swatch watches does he have?  And does he still wear those remarkable black and white striped drainpipe trousers?  Does he still rummage around in other peoples’ pigeonholes?  Would he now attempt to steal a packet of Polos by secreting them under his mortar board? 

“Ida!  I don’t eat white bread!”

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I always enjoy the company of people who don’t conform to the norm, but I was very glad to get an invite a few months into my second year to move into the splendid residence below, Cedar House with some slightly (as it appeared at the time) more normal people…

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It was the coldest residence in the Western world but the site of much hilarity.  I loved the entry in P’s diary soon after I’d moved in, “We haven’t seen much of Jenny, she’s quite the social butterfly.”  Was I?  Doing what?  I have absolutely no idea.

I could go on and on and on about what a marvelous time we had but I think that the text that I just got from P says it all.  After we all became mildly obsessed by the genius song “You Can Thank Your Lucy Stars” over the weekend, P just sent a text round to say, “Dean Friedman is now following me on Twitter”.  We may be old, but we’ve still got it.

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5 Responses to Joan Crawford’s Charcoal Broiled Steak with Roquefort Sauce

  1. Sally - My Custard Pie 21 Oct, 2014 at 5:45 am #

    LOVED this post. What an amazing window on the past. My daughter’s now in her first term at University. Gulp.

  2. Moya 8 Nov, 2014 at 10:10 pm #

    On my God! That’s P in the photo! I haven’t seen him in so many years (decades). I wish I could have been there with you–thanks so much for sharing this. How can the years go so fast? And children at university while I’m running round after my toddler (always the late developer here)–who is already betrothed to H.A.’s 20 month old baby girl.

    • Jenny 9 Nov, 2014 at 4:07 pm #

      Ah yes, indeed it is P! Reading from his fabulous diaries. It was so funny. Gawd knows where the time goes. Send me a pic of that toddler of yours.. xx

  3. Moya 9 Nov, 2014 at 5:54 pm #

    I found some letters of his last time I was home–as funny as ever. Send him (and S and H) my love–would love to see them all again soon. Sending you a picture of my baby S right now.

    • Jenny 9 Nov, 2014 at 9:58 pm #

      Aw so sweet!! Let’s all get together next time you are in the UK x

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