There are people we meet in life with whom we click. Firm friends who see us through the great times, the fun times, and the times when all we do is sob and snot on each other. But what is it that connects us? What it is that whispers to some unknown part of ourselves, and enables us to establish those bonds that make us not friends, but Friends?
I have been buddies with Jodi Webb, nee Simmonds, for 31 years now, and I know that whatever happens, she will be there for me. We have seen one another through some tough times and some incredible life adventures, the bonkers (or sometimes tragic), nature of which many people don’t encounter until they’ve lived a lifetime. We have certainly not led uneventful lives. But here we are, 3 decades later, and I know that no matter what, she has my back, and vice versa.
Clearly there was something about she and I that just clicked on the day that we met, all those years ago. When Jodi and her husband, Dave, come round for a meal, it is simply a given that she and I will spend most of it laughing until we cry and, best of all, our husbands get along extremely well, too. We are all completely at ease with one another – no pretences, no lines that can’t be crossed, free and open to speak about anything that is on our minds. And that level of total liberty is rare in life, isn’t it? To feel that you can discuss anything, raise any opinions, and truly be seen by other people for who you are.
It’s strange isn’t it, these connections that human beings are lucky enough to stumble upon as we go through life? Some of my closest friends are those whom I have known for years, often from school, but others were met later in life, through uni and work. People come and go, acquaintances are made and lost, but every so often you are so firmly on one another’s wavelength that bonds deepen, trust and loyalty are built, and you know that you are real Friends.
According to Aristotle there are 3 kinds of friends. Those with whom we enjoy socialising or carrying out our hobbies with, those to whom we have a civic duty such as colleagues or neighbours, and then those with whom we are real Friends (obviously some of these may cross over). He suggested that the latter are mirrors to one another, a soul inhabiting two bodies, hence the incredible bond that you can sometimes have. Within this category, it goes without saying, we should also be able to include our partner. These Friends are the people to whom you can say absolutely anything, for whom you don’t put a spin on a story so that you come out best, to whom you don’t exaggerate or underplay, or care about creating an impression in front of. These are the people we can speak to when we are at our lowest – when we may feel ashamed of our behaviour or to whom we may admit things we’d never tell to another. A rarity.
Another person you may have heard of once or twice, Charles Darwin, said that a person’s friendships are the true measure of their worth, and if that is true, then I count myself as rolling in it. If my mates see something in me, when I am at my barest self with them, all my faults and fuck ups and fears, but also all of my love and compassion and care, then how incredibly lucky am I? Thank you, Friends, you know who you are.
Cleaning the house when your kids are broken up from school…
I can’t be the only person who is currently, thanks to the summer holidays, watching their home being destroyed around them.
I am sitting at night on the edge of the sofa, unable to relax upon spotting the toys, pens, pencils, tiny scraps of chopped-up paper, bin-bag-dresses, and glue, that are the natural accompaniments to every movement of a 7 and 10 year old who have broken up from school.
This morning I caved and whizzed through with a speedy version of a deep clean. This will have been wasted – by tomorrow they will have cycloned back through the house undoing my good work – but for the sake of my own sanity, and simple hygiene, I had to do it.
Home Coffee comes to Cosham… Three cheers!
If you live at the north end of the city, then lucky you. Home Coffee (who have been thriving in Albert Road for over 18 months now), have come to Cosham, and the décor, the staff, and the food, is fabulous.
It’s refreshing to see somewhere, the likes of which is, for unknown reasons, usually confined to Southsea, opening at the forgotten end of the city. Greasy Spoons are ten a penny (and who doesn’t like a fry up once in while?), but it’s lovely to finally have an establishment that recognises it’s not only the inhabitants of Southsea who eat avocado et al, and would like to do so within walking distance of their own homes.
I fully recommend it.
Some of the wonderful guys from Home Coffee, image courtesy of aboutmyarea.co.uk
First published in The Portsmouth News, Saturday 13th August 2016