Saturday, 29 September 2012


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.
Incidentally, if you wish to see the damage our five inches of rain caused to his road, go to made out of words on my sidebar for a couple of photographs


Elizabeth said...

Loved your account of your various friends --and seeing Paddington.
I'm off to England in the middle of October where I will visit a friend I met in 1959 and have lunch with someone I haven't seen since that same year --the daughter of Mrs.Ford, our school teacher.
I do think some people are more interested in keeping friendships alive than others are.
Have a super weekend.

Tom Stephenson said...

It's funny, but I hardly ever see the people who I think of as my 'best friends'. Somehow it doesn't seem necessary.

Heather said...

How lovely to still be in touch with your very first school friend. Sadly I have lost touch with all of mine but still write to the nextdoor neighbour I had 50 years ago. I doubt either of us would recognise the other now! I think friendships like this might well be a female thing.

Pondside said...

I think that the gift for keeping friends is given more to women than to men - but I've read that women need and seek connection more than men do. I liked to read the little stories of your important friendships.

Heather said...

An afterthought: How kind of your friend to send you Paddington Bear. I had my childhood teddy until I was 26 when he was brutally murdered in the currant bushes by our dog! I think he was making a statement as we had just had our third child and the competition was just too much.

Hildred said...

I think that woman are more social about their friendships, but I do think that the friendships between men are equally as deep and meaningful. I know how Charles has valued his school day friends, and the loss he has felt when they died - and how lonely he is with the loss of these old and treasured friends. - you remind me, Pat, that it is time to make phone calls and send cards......

Rachel Fox said...

I think most of us have a few friends that we would like to catch up with again... just to see what they're up to... but for all the possible various reasons we will just never know! Quite frustrating.

angryparsnip said...

What a wonderful post about your friend. I have several friend that remind me of yours and some that because of distance or what ever are hard to keep in touch with.
I think women work on their friendships, have closer bonds. We are all the richer for it.

cheers, parsnip

Anonymous said...

I always am amused when I see women who are close ie. through work and hope that their respective husbands will get on. Men being men, they are usually stuck with topics like the weather work or sport, while the women natter on about anything and everything, quite oblivious!
I think my husband would be quite lost without his cycling mates. Through ill-health he doesn't cycle as much with them now, but still loves the weekly get-together for coffee. I am sure that group talks about anything and everything - a strong support group.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Interesting to read about everyone's friends. Glad I reminded you about friendships - thanks for calling. Do come again.

Cloudia said...

such a lovely reflection of friendship! made me miss those passed-

Woman Seeking Center said...

Lovely post - my first visit and I'll without doubt return :-)

Friendships come in all forms and I do believe all 'strengths'. Some are meant by fate to endure, others seem to be more time n place and phase of life driven. The oddity is in sussing out which is what at the outset.

Then as you mention, some drift or fade for reason(s) never known such as your paddington pal (I too had such a paddy bear - loved the buttons on his wee thin coat and his boots almost as much as I adored him, lol).
The drift/fade friendships are most difficult (IMO) as it's hard not to wonder what went astray? Yet as you rightly mentioned, it's kind to respect the distance kept by the one who drifted if they don't respond. If only they'd mention to us 'why' before circling out of our lives...

Thanks for a thought provoking post.

PS I'm vexed by the new blogger also, lol and PSS I suspect men and women both have close ties to their friends. BUT women are like weavers - ever adding a bit of news or visits or such often to the loom. Conversely men seem to have far less interest in or need of updates/input/sharing. Still they pick up just as they left off when last together. Odd indeed lol

Warm wishes