First of all, here are the answers to the quiz I set you the other day.
Well done to Juliet (Crafty Green Poet) who got almost all of them.
1. Buttercup (Goat-Butter, getit?),2. London Pride, 3. Thrift,
4. Cranesbill, 5. Foxglove, 6. Dandelion, 7. Daisy, 8.Cow parsley.
9. Speedwell, 10. Dog rose, 11. Kingcup, 12. Poppy, 13. Red campion, 14. Bindweed or knot weed (either fit the clue), 15. Dog violet, 16. Hawkweed, 17. Shepherd' Purse, 18. Sweet Cecily, 19. Lovage (an anagram of gavel plus o) 20. Mind your own business (an alternative name for Mother of Thousands.) If any wild flower
enthusiast wishes to use it as a Christmas quiz, please feel free.
Now to today's topic - Friends. As Hilaire Belloc puts it:-
There's nothing worth the wear of winning,
But laughter and the love of friends.
Our laughter on a Friday morning in the Golden Lion at coffee time could probably be heard all over the Market Place if anyone chose to listen. Why do we laugh? Because we are friends, of course, and because we can always find something to laugh about.
So many of my friends are alone - either widows or never married. They all have one very important thing in common - they do not sit at home waiting for the world to come to them - they go out and find people to chat to, people to mix with, ways of enjoying life.
G and J are both wildlife enthusiasts and spend much of their time walking, bird watching, visiting a local Nature Reserve; in addition they both have groups of friends with whom they spend a lot of time over coffee, lunch or just chatting. W runs a ukulele group at her house, joins in a 'sing-along', has a circle dancing group, lunches with friends, invites friends to her house for poetry and various other things. I could go on. Most of my friends have very full diaries and often it is hard to find a 'window' where we can all meet (I do hate that word window).
But isn;t that better than sitting at home and hoping that people will come to see you and then feeling hard done-by when they don't turn up. It is no excuse to say that not everyone can get out and meet people - I agree they can't but they can invite people to come and see them, rather than live in hope that someone will turn up.
Friend, D, who herself has a very full diary, hosted our Poetry afternoon on Wednesday - what a lovely time we had - a huge variety of poetry, delicious Christmas food, lots of laughs. As we left D handed us each a rolled up piece of paper. On it was a drawing she had done and run off - a lovely, Christmassy sketch and the words - the best thing of all - "friends keep us going." This is a lady who has had a lot of sadness in her life and who yet manages to fill her time with friends seven days a week.
Please don't think for a moment that I have forgotten or dismissed all the thousands of lonely old people, all the homeless who sleep rough in the streets - all of whom need friendship and love more than any of us, and all of whom rely on the wonderful volunteers who offer that friendship throughout the year and especially at Christmas. All the more reason for those of us who are able to embrace friendship and go out into the world and invite it.
I take my hat off to D, to W, to G and J, to all my friends in fact who, at this time are all managing to go along to one another's houses over the festive season. No-one will sit at home alone - all will be together. Long live friendship - the most important thing in the world.