Friday, 25 April 2008

“Old” Friends


It is a shame when we lose touch with people who we have befriended and with whom we have shared some really good times. However, it does enable us to experience the joy of ‘rediscovering’ them. The computer age makes that so much easier to do and the intervening years just disappear as one resumes a ‘correspondence’ that might have only finished last week despite all the changes in both your lives over the years.

I have, for example, just retraced a former colleague and friend Ray Lonsdale. We last spent any real time together in 1976 when my first wife and I were fortunate enough to visit him at the delightfully named Penbontrhydybeddau for a couple of most hospitable weekends. We explored the area (near Aberystwyth) on foot and by car and I recall a delightful morning spent with a friend of theirs who, besides lecturing at Aberystwyth also acted as the local farrier whilst his wife wove. {Farriery is now so rare that instead of every village having a farrier the spellchecker rejects the word.) On another day we wandered the hedgerows and collected rose hips for making into syrup and came across a Barn Owl that swooped through the pine woods straight at me, silent as a ghost. It is little memories like this that make a life what it is today.

In Ray’s case it was particularly enjoyable to swap news because I had heard that he had died many years ago! “Rumours of my death have been greatly exaggerated”, as Mark Twain once commented...

He and his wife Sally have invited me to visit and, transport permitting, I shall take him up on it. I know what will happen. We will meet and after a moment assessing the visible damage of thirty two years we will resume conversing as if the intervening time had been a mere six months. The experiences of a lifetime will then be crammed into a couple of days of swapping news but suitably interspersed with philosophising about the world and, more importantly, creating new memories to carry forward to the future. And so life goes on, a seemingly unending addition of experiences until one day the rumours of one’s death are no longer exaggerated.

Having friends is fun!

1 comment:

  1. I wish that I had written that! The sentiment is common enough but the ability to express it so poetically is far from common.