When they were growing up in the sandy deserts of Tooraweenah, Bruce Richardson and his friends never thought they’d one day meet each other in leafy Greenwich, looking out over the iconic view of the Queen’s House, the Old Royal Naval College behind it, and the modern skyscrapers of Canary Wharf towering over the whole scene.
Bruce’s friends had agreed to meet him to celebrate his 47th birthday. They had seen each other as much since Bruce swapped the deserts of the outback for the green and pleasant land that surrounded the picturesque Warwickshire village of Lower Strangling. It was a move no one expected he’d make, least of all him. But here he was, suggesting his friends meet him in a place as posh as Greenwich.
They’d already had lunch and had seen most of the sights at the bottom of the hill, but now they were on top of the hill by the Observatory, looking down over the view.
“I never thought I’d get to see Sydney, let alone this.” Bruce’s old school friend Scott Jones said. “Never thought I’d actually want to.”
“Yeah, well, people change.” Bruce said.
“I guess so,” Bruce’s other friend Oliver Williams said. “You’ve never dare set foot in a place like this, let alone arrange to meet us here.”
“I know.” Bruce said. “But hey, I quite like it here.”
“I do too, mate, I do too.” Scott said. “I’m glad you suggested we meet here.”
“No problem, mate, no problem.” Bruce said.
“It reminds me a bit of Mount Coot-Tha,” Scott said. “But in a way this is better, as the view is nicely framed and draws your eye down the hill to the horizon.”
“I never thought of it like that, but yeah I guess you’re right.” Bruce said.
“Queensland has better weather though.” Scott said.
“I don’t know, I find the cold quite refreshing.” Oliver said.
“My word! What’s happened to us?” Scott said.
“Simple. We got old.” Bruce said.
“Yeah, that makes sense.” Scott said.
“Hmm.” Bruce said.
“Right, let’s go into the Observatory.” Oliver said.
“Sure,” Bruce said.
And so Bruce, Oliver, and Scott entered the Observatory.
“So this is where the Eastern and Western Hemispheres meet?” Scott said, looking at the Prime Meridian below him
“I guess so, yeah.” Bruce said. “This is also the reference line for world time zones.”
“So, this is basically the centre of the universe?” Scott said.
“Well, the centre of world time,” Bruce said.
“Either way, it’s a beautiful place for it to be.” Scott said.
“Indeed.” Bruce said.
After they’d taken photos of each of them standing over the Meridian line with each foot in a different hemisphere they had a look around the Observatory.
“Thanks for today mate,” Scott said as the three men prepared to go their separate ways.
“No problem.” Bruce said. “It was great to catch up on old times.”
“It certainly was,” Oliver said, taking a photo of Canary Wharf poking through the two Navy College buildings.
“We should do this again sometime.” Scott said. “Perhaps we could meet in Oz?”
“Or you guys could come to Lower Strangling?” Bruce said. “I’m sure you’d love it. The locals will love you too.”
“I’ll think about it.” Scott said.
“Right, I think it’s time to go back to the hotel.” Oliver said.
“I think so, too.” Scott said.
“Ok. Bye, guys. Until the next time.” Bruce said.
“Indeed. Goodbye.” Oliver said.
“Bye,” Scott said.
Then the three men gave each other strong bear hugs, said goodbye once more, and walked in separate directions through the courtyard of the historic naval college to central London.
Until the next time.