Bunny Rabbits

Friday January 28th

It was 1968.
‘Hair’ had just opened in London.
France was doing what it does with revolutions,
And four of us were moving into a flat in Frognal Lane. Hampstead.

Years later I was riffling through a box of old books in Camden Market and came across a diary from a young woman who lived in the same flat in the fifties. She was a BBC singer and spoke in lingo that nobody could get away with whether woke or not.

I was nineteen – second year at drama school with only my father’s leather coats to keep me warm and love letters from my absent boyfriend who was studying chemical engineering at Birmingham University. When I threw his letters away I thought I had buried him but it don’t work like that do it? He’s still in Birmingham a grandfather and a supporter of Aston Villa. I rest my case.

Filling a flat was easy then. An advert in the classifieds, a card pinned to the notice board, word of mouth, what ever it took, finding flatmates was easy then. None of this Hinge and Tinder nonsense for us. We were young drama school students with grants to help us survive and the innocence of the baby boomer generation. We got what we wanted when we wanted it, and if we didn’t like it we got what we wanted more. Not like now I hear you cry.

The inmates of Frognal were an unlikely quartet.

One was violet eyed with blonde hair; tall, slim and clever. She ended up having a relationship with the brother of the one with –

Green eyes and auburn hair. She was tall, slim and clever. She became the aunt to the violet eyed’s violet eyed children.

The third one was blue eyed with very blonde hair. She was taLL, curvaceous and unbelievably smart and artistic.

And then there was me. Small, plumpacious and clever although I didn’t know it at the time believing I was as thick as two short planks.

Each time I brought a feller home to the flat he would end up leaving me for the auburn haired one and making dinner dates at the Cellier Du Midi in Church Row Hampstead.
I dont know what happened to the blue-eyed girl.
The auburn haired beauty died two years ago.
And I’ve just come back from lunch with the long legged blue eyed septuagenarian.

We all went our separate ways after college.

Old violet eyes did something intelligent, had two daughters and ended up living in West London.
Old green eyes married the handsomest man in the world when she did another degree at Manchester University, taught deaf children and segued into being an award winning poet in Galway before she went the way of all good poets.
Old blue eyes ended up marrying well, living in Wales, then divorcing, sadly. Her ex-husband fell down the stairs, and before he had time to change his will for her, he left a million quid to a cat’s home. The blued eyed divorcée ended up sleeping in her little red Ford Fiesta, becoming a matron in a posh boys school, getting a job as a carer, working for Peace in Bosnia, and finally trading in her Ford Fiesta for a fancy Czech estate car, moving into a lovely house on the proceeds of her divorce settlement and is now learning French.

I carried on doing whatever it took to build a career in this unforgiving industry.
The violet eyed one is now a widow.
The green eyed one is now stardust.
The blue eyed one is my daughter’s God daughter and lives a squirrel nuts throw from me.

Ol’ blue eyes made lunch today which consisted of delicious homemade hummus, crudités then an assortment of tasty veg, dates and coffee. We did what friends of over 55years do, we discussed what our friendship meant.

Now we have to go back to 1968 when finding work was as easy as looking at the back pages of the Evening Standard. She needed extra cash so she answered an ad for a Bunny Girl. She got the job but had to lose a stone to fit into their tiny leotards, her tush had to be the right size for the little white fluffy bunny tail.

Her figure – as we called it then – was hourglass, her bunny ears accompanied her platinum blonde hair, and her long legs looked even longer in her black sheer tights and high heels.
Whilst she was pulling in piles of tips I was working in a boutique next to John Barnes on the Finchley Road. Bunny girls always looked sparkly and modish – I didn’t. Although I did meet a Native American woman who introduced me to an indoor orange tree and Native American rituals.
The violet eyed gal is still in my contact book but it’s probably the wrong number.
When the green eyed gal died I cried. I still have her in my contacts.
The blue eyed bunny denied her life at the Playboy club for years. Until I reminded her that we cannot undo the past so it’s better to embrace those past peccadilloes. That’s what friends are for. Now we laugh at her false eyelashes and her interminable time in the communal bathroom.

Another old friend called yesterday and asked what jobs did I do when I was ‘resting’ as an actress. Fortunately I only had the one job – filing t-shirts in that boutique on the Finchley Road. Although I did work in Harley street to earn some extra money for ‘The Californian Diet’ which required tons of expensive exotic fruit. I still remember the bag of ripe mangoes I bought from Berwick Street Market. When I got those green orbs of deliciousness home I put them on the kitchen counter. Walked into the living room, turned back only to see them moving around. That bag of mangoes had a life of their own. I should say lives of their own – they were full of maggots. I still shudder when I think about it. Doctor Kitty Dalton acted on behalf of women with severe PMS/PMT. Kitty got a woman off a murder rap by arguing the severity of the condition. I made £90 a day and discovered that a little oatcake every three hours works wonders on pre-menstrual tension and to always check your mangoes before buying.

Todays lunch was civilised and tasty. Why are we still friends we wondered? We had lost touch but in the 80’s she saw me on the telly, wrote to me, and the rest is history. We concluded that time plays a big part in friendship, but also an unwritten understanding that whilst we may drive each other potty sometimes, we still have each other’s backs, with or without a little white scut poking out of her bunny bottom.

“Keeping it real,” she said, keeping each other up to date with news, including each other in gatherings; telling the truth and most importantly telling each other why we are still friends.

I got home and sat down as the window cleaner arrived, with no warning; him scooting up a ladder with his bucket and squeegie thingie making the windows sparkle.
The old man paid him off and I nearly fell asleep in front of the computer.
The bunny girl’s taken to her bed, I’m not surprised. Her Cordon Bleu cookery took it out of me too. In fact, as I write, my eyes, are closing, as, we, speeeeeeeee….

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