Some friends are for life, some come and go and some (as John of Going Gently wrote the other day) only stay on the periphery and never really become friends, merely acquaintances.
I have one friend, J, whom I met on my first day at Infant School when we shared a desk (yes we had 'proper' desks in those days, with inkwells. My goodness me, the day we were allowed to use ink was indeed a red letter day (or probably a blue-black day), at the beginning we used a slate and chalk (yes, I am that old). During all our years, we have never lost touch. Now we meet only rarely - the last time was eighteen months ago when the farmer and I spent a few days in Lincolnshire, where she still lives in the village where we grew up. But we speak at least once a month on the telephone and we always have plenty to say - we share interests in wild life and gardening.
Another friend, another J, and I lost touch many years ago until about five years ago I heard in a round-about
way that she lived in Knareborough, which is not too far from here. I contacted her and we took up where we left off and continue to do so to this day, meeting whenever we can and corresponding regularly.
Other friends come and then go. Friend, M, (I know you will be reading this) and I met when we bought houses next door to one another twenty five years ago. We are still the dearest of friends. With our previous partners we played Trivial Pursuit every Saturday night, taking it in turns to cook a meal and host the evening. We had a tiny wine glass which became the winner's cup. It had a strip of Dymo tape (remember that?) stuck round it - we were the Spring Cottage Sprites, they were the Amberley Atoms. When both our partners died we were there for one another - and continue to be so now when we are both happily married again.
You may remember that earlier in the year I gave my God-daughter away at her wedding (I was her Godmother). Her mother and father had been our neighbours for a few years and we never lost touch - we spent so many happy hours together boating - canoeing, sailing, narrow-boating - and there was such sadness when they both died. Now we take pleasure in my God-daughter and her friendship.
One very dear friend, S, fell by the wayside. How do such friendships fade? We had worked together for years and were really close. Then I retired and we gradually drifted away from one another. I always remember her because upon hearing that I had never owned a teddy bear, she bought me a Paddington Bear for Christmas. That bear (minus his hat as my grandchildred adored him and always put on his wellies and his hat)stands in the corner of my bedroom. I see him as I walk up the stairs - and every time I see him I am reminded of her and have a slight feeling of sadness that we lost touch.
Friend, W, and I go out together quite a lot. Soon we shall be going to see the Autumn colours at Thorpe Perrow Arboretum as we do every year Another friend, G, and I have coffee together every Tuesday morning after my Tesco run - and we never run out of things to talk about (much to the farmer's amusement).
And then there is my friend, P, who I met forty odd years ago and who has become part of the lives of both me and my son, so that I almost think of him as another son. I shall see him when he comes for the weekend next weekend with his partner because he now lives in Windermere, which is only a stone's throw away.
What would I do without all these friends? My life would be bereft I can tell you. I would dearly love to make contact again with S (of Paddington Bear fame), but for some reason she chooses not to contact me andIi must respect her for that.
Is this kind of friendship a "Woman Thing" - or do men have friendships on this scale too? I would love to hear your views on Friends.
I hope to have a photograph on today - my son taught me how to work the new Blogger last night.