And "old" is the word as far as our friends Chris and Mrs Chris are concerned. I first got to know Chris, his late wife and their family, ooh, probably 35 years ago or even more. Mrs Chris and the Old Bat have been friends even longer - nearly 60 years - going back to when they were in the Guides and at school together. After Chris's first wife died tragically (she fell down the stairs and suffered an embolism) leaving him with four children and Mrs Chris's first husband had left her with the two children, Chris eventually persuaded me to effect an introduction. I was extremely reluctant to do so - not because I disliked either party but because I could see the possibility that things might not work out and we would lose two friends for the price of one. As it happens, things did work out and they have been happily married for 30 years. The honeymoon was a hoot. There were Chris and Mrs Chris, Chris's two younger children, Mrs Chris's two children, the Old Bat and I and our three children plus another couple and their one son. We all went to a holiday camp together and had a riotous time.
Chris and Mrs Chris came round yesterday for coffee and it was amazing how quickly the morning went. We certainly don't live in each others' pockets and there might be several months between me seeing either of them but somehow we don't seem to have a need to "catch up" and are able to carry on seemingly from where we broke off before. That, I think, is one of the secrets of really good friendship. There are plenty of people whom I would describe as friends, but really only a small handful who count as such good friends as Chris and Mrs Chris.
I am so thankful to have them and my other friends around me.
Lastly, I am reminded of what I think is the best definition of friendship I have ever come across:
...true friendship exists not on account of the service performed by one to another, but that true friendship demands nothing but accepts service in the spirit in which it is given.(From the Lions Clubs International code of ethics.)
Suddenly summer is here and the temperature in Brighton is higher than in Rio de Janeiro! I managed a short walk across the fields yesterday and admired the hawthorn scattered like summer snow along the hedgerows. Given the weather (the temperature was 26) it was not surprising that there was a haze in the distance.