So Quest is in Trinidad and we’re back in Wales. This is the way it’s set to be for the next year. Our life is a little split down the world map middle while we conquer stability, community, work and finally getting our bungalow in order.
We’ve come to Liverpool this weekend. Why? Lulu’s friend from InterHigh wrote to Lulu months ago now and told her she would be attending her cousin’s wedding in Wales. ‘Will you be around?’ she asked Lulu. ‘Cause if you are, maybe we can meet up.’
Ooohh.. There is something temptingly exciting about going to meet InterHigh kids. We don’t have any contact with InterHigh kids. Well, not much. Lulu went to the school’s masquerade ball in June and it was an interesting evening for her but there were no kids there in her class. Now this kid is in Lu’s class. They write and follow each other… they have something of an online admiration. Why do I feel like a old-person’s stalker just for saying this? I just noticed their relationship on the pass-by. ‘What are you doing Lu?’ Type, type, type. ‘I’m writing to Honor.’ ‘Ok.’ Keep going.
Slight side note: social media is surely a magical thing for identity. You can be whoever you want to be. Ok, it’s not ideal for trickery circles and detecting the deceiving dirtbags.. but used wisely it can be as refreshing as being re-born. The only thing is these InterHigh kids seem to have no sense of direction. Is this an online school thing? I’ve noticed it with Lulu. When she started hanging out with her school friends in town, you’d be lucky if she could find the train station. Is this because she doesn’t leave the house enough? She’s got better at that but now reveals some of her geographical naïveté on a national level. Example: there are two ways that take you from London to our village. A few weeks ago, halfway down one way, Lulu said, ‘Which road are we on?’ We answered and she said, ‘Can’t we take the other one?’ Pause. ‘No, we can’t.’ You know all those good school marks that you get Lulu? What’s up with that?
Now, I thought it was just Lu until Honor asked if they could meet up. Although Honor’s wedding was going to be two hours north from us, she and Lulu organised it like it was in the very next village. Or wait, maybe Lu did. Maybe Honor didn’t have anything to do with it. Sorry Honor. I take it back. The day before Lulu was set to meet her, we figured the geography of the situation out. Normal parents at this point would have shrugged and thrown their car keys away. Us? We have a curiosity about fellow InterHigh kids that must be sated. Who are these fellow kids that attend InterHigh?
‘Posh kids,’ Lulu said, ‘that are too posh for their local secondary schools but whose parents can’t afford boarding school.’
‘How do you know this?’ I asked.
‘Cause they are mostly dicks with double-barrelled names that never laugh at your jokes.’
I gulped. ‘Right.’
‘Or expats, kids who have been sick and can’t go to normal school, ones with crazy hobbies or whose families travel a lot.’ She looked around at the bungalow walls. ‘That last one was us. Except now we’re not travelling.’
I frowned and thought about our local secondary school. ‘Right. So now you can count yourself in the same category as the double-barrelled names.’
Lulu sighed. ‘Thanks.’
But Honor is different. Lu likes online Honor and online Honor likes online Lu.
‘I got it,’ Jack jumped enthusiastically in at this point. ‘We can go to Liverpool for the night. It’s on the way there. It’ll be a good excuse to check Liverpool out.’
A mini-adventure! Alright! Jack booked the hotel and faster than you could sing Love Me Do and off we went. We caught Honor and her family on Sunday morning just as she was about to drive from the wedding back to their home in Kent. And they were totally nice. If a little shocked we’d made it. ‘You haven’t come all this way just to see us for fifteen minutes?’
‘No.’ We shuffled our feet. ‘Of course not.’
The parents introduced ourselves while Lulu and Honor stood together, speaking more haltingly than they surely do in their online encounters. It was funny to watch them; suddenly as normal teenagers. In fact was so nice, we stayed like this outside the posh grounds of the hotel for the full fifteen minutes.
‘We’ll meet again,’ Honor’s mum said to me. ‘By the way, I’ve had Honor’s academic progress independently assessed because I wasn’t sure about the InterHigh system.’
My mouth dropped slightly. Trust a green-belt-living-London-lady to think of this totally awesome idea. ‘How did it go?’
She nodded in satisfaction. ‘Really well.’
‘Let’s definitely meet again,’ I could listen to this stuff all day. My InterHigh interest just went through the roof.