Thursday, 12 August 2010
Old friends are a bit like old clothes - you are so comfortable with them that you don't have to make an effort. I have an old (in both senses of the word) friend whom I first met on our first day at infant school. I have moved around the country a lot; she has stayed in the village where we were born, has married, built a house there, had her children there and still lives in the same place. We speak on the telephone about once a month and sometimes - never more than once a year - we meet up. I can tell you that the meeting is so full of chatter that our husbands never get a look in! We chat as though we have seen each other every day - and what is more, we are only chatting for a minute or two before I revert to Lincolnshire dialect.
Do men have friends on the same scale? I don't think they do, but no doubt a male reader of my blog may well prove me wrong. Somehow, to me it seems a female thing - although, having said that, I do have one or two old friends who are male. But the important thing for me is that even if they move away to the other side of the country, the friendships survives.
And so, today, I am off to meet an old friend. Her life over the last five years or so has been very hard as her husband has Alzheimer's and is now in care. When I was nursing my husband in his last illness she was a pillar of strength, visiting me, sitting with me - the voice of comfort and of reason. And to add to that she baked food in single portions for me to freeze when I had no time to cook. A friend indeed.
She is coming up to visit her husband today, although he no longer recognises her.
The visit will be so sad for her but she is determined to keep strong for his sake.
She doesn't know I am going to see her - she is calling on another friend who has invited me too. So I am really looking forward to the surprise element and also to being able to give her a little comfort in return for all her kindness to me.
When I return this evening I will add a postscript to this post - and hopefully a photograph or two. In the meantime, I must go and get ready for the drive. Have a good day.
Post script: It was a joy to see the face of my old friend when I arrived as she had not expected to see me. We had a lovely day together thanks to the super hospitality of Margaret, who laid on a lovely lunch for us. And we found plenty to chat about to last us through the afternoon too.
But I have to tell you that I was in the presence of two superb needlewomen - such talent. I have taken two photographs to show you just how good they are. The first is the quilt of my old friend - she has made dozens of quilts over the years and her needle skills are wonderful. This quilt, which she brought up specially to show us, is for her three year old great grand daughter - isn't it a lovely quilt for a little girl? If you enlarge the photograph you may be able to see bits of antique lace which she has added here and there.
The other quilt is only half-finished and is the work of Margaret. Each motif is appliqued on by hand and the quality of the stitching has to be seen to be believed. Try enlarging that and you will get some idea of hos beautiful it is.
As a bonus, my friend had found her husband to be in good spirits, happy and settled in his new home and although he is not able to hold a conversation she was sure from the delight on his face when they arrived that he knew her, so she was happy with the outcome of her visit. A really lovely day.