Me, him and the dog, are away again in our motorhome, this time touring ever so bonnie Scotland.
Our tour has taken us from one end of the UK to the other, about 650 miles as the crow flies. En route, I was able to hook up with one of my oldest and dearest friends. We met at uni and have been friends for nearly 40 years (gulp – where did they go?). For a period, after we graduated, we were both living and working in London, until lives and loves put us about 250 miles apart. We might see each other once or twice a year, if that. In between, there are emails and Facebook posts to keep us connected.
My partner and I spent a lovely evening together with my friend. As ever, it felt as if I had seen her only the week before. We slip right back into the people we are, together. After we left her, and as we wound our way through the highlands and islands of Scotland, I pondered the nature of friendship and what it means for me.
Firstly, I realise, that most of the people I call my friends, I have known for many years, but at the same time, that doesn’t mean I have to know someone a long time for them to be a friend.
All my friends are people who know me, possibly better than I know myself. They accept me as I am and don’t judge me. They know my trials and tribulations, as I know theirs. They always have something constructive and supportive to do or say when I am struggling. I care about what happens to them, as they do me. We laugh and cry together. The roots of our lives are intertwined in places and will be for as long as we live.
Over the years, I have learned that friendships wax and wane. This can be for geographical reasons, personal circumstances or just a change of focus for the friends. The important point is that such changes do not unseat true friendship, which endures.
Based on my experience of friendship, I think there is another version of it which is based more on mutual interest and possibility rather than abiding qualities of care and support. The aim and product of the friendship is mutual advancement. Such friendships can be very effective for all concerned, but they don’t have roots and can be easily broken.
I’ve had a lot of time to ponder this, whilst gorging on the gorgeous scenery that has wrapped itself around me. Again, I am reminded that you don’t necessarily have to travel far to find beauty and peace. Here are photos of some of the places that did it for me.
Have a great summer everyone.