Friends - where would we be without them? Some people seem to manage quite well without any, but my friends are really important and I love them dearly.
I have lost touch with some as I have moved around the country so much both with my first husband's job and then since retirement, but living here in The Yorkshire Dales is the longest I have ever lived in one place. I have lived here for thirty years this September.
I was born in Lincolnshire and grew up and went to school there. I am still regularly in touch with one friend there, a friend I made on my first day at infant school. We used to visit one another frequently but as we are now both over eighty the visiting has faded away - and all I can say is 'thank goodness for the telephone' (she doesn't do computers).
Once my son was born we moved deep into the countryside in Lincolnshire and I made a friend there - my neighbour actually. We still write to one another at Christmas and last year I actually called in to see them - and what is more, after all this time, she recognised me.
From there the move was to Lichfield in Staffordshire and again it was my neighbour who became a dear friend. I am Godmother to her only daughter (she is the one I meet for lunch frequently as she now lives up here). Sadly both my friend and her husband died some years ago and when my God-daughter got married a few years ago I 'gave her away' at her wedding.
Then the move was to Wolverhampton for my son's schooling and also for both my husband's and my jobs (both teachers). Friends there were numerous and still writing and contacting by phone.
Finally the move on retirement was up here into the Yorkshire Dales and it was here that my first husband sadly died and after a couple of years I married the farmer. Yorkshire folk are straightforward and friendly - they tend to call a spade a shovel (as we say round here)- and it is very easy to make friends. It is that circle of friends who have now gathered round to support me when I most need it - this particularly applies to friend W - without her I would be no good at all at present.
One dear friend and neighbour up here has sadly died and her funeral is on Wednesday. She had just moved away to live with her daughter but her heart remained up here and she is to have her funeral up here by her own choice. I shall be there along with many villagers who loved her.
Where would we be without our friends in time of need?