Friends and people like you

MANY years ago while cutting my teeth as a newspaper editor in Argyll I fought a year-long campaign on behalf of a Conservative parliamentary candidate who was an innocent victim of demonization and dirty tricks by his own party.
His crime?
To stand up and speak out for what he believed in. He had dared call a rich Tory landowner a “Philistine and a Barbarian” for flouting planning orders and felling a forest of trees in order to build holiday chalets.
His enemy quickly became the same landowner and his cohorts: the Duke of Argyll, Former Home Secretary Lord Willie Whitelaw, the chairman of the constituency party Archie McCallum and eventually the whole Scottish Conservative Party.
The parliamentary candidate was deselected by his party and never stood as a Conservative again.
His name was Bill Hodgson and he became a good friend.
Bill sadly died in October 2010.
He left me with many happy memories of wine-fuelled chats by his fireside in Edinburgh and his wonderful sense of humour.
He also left me a letter with the immortal words: “A man is known by his friends and not his enemies, I am grateful to count you as a friend.”
And his words still echo after I finished my recent heart-wrenching quartet of pieces entitled Back from the Edge.
I was nervous about publishing this series as it was so personal and raw, but have been bowled over by the response and love of true friends.
I knew I could count on my wife Gill, my son Nathan and mum for their support during this time, but the rest was a surprise.
You see, it is easy to know who you love and who loves you, but is less easy to appreciate who are true friends.
I now know I am blessed by real friends. So thank you: fellow bloggers Laura and Jane, my friend of 22 years Judith, a friend of even longer Jane, my warmest buddy Nicola B, the lovely Kay D, members of my extended Outterside family including Lorraine, Nicky and Karen, the gorgeous Sues, brilliant friend Kate M, the wonderful musician and human being Carolyn, Jenny and Caryn plus former work colleagues Rachel R, Sarah B, Sophie C and Karen B and especially the two Hannahs, who both have the capacity to reduce me to tears by the unexpected honesty and true warmth of their words.
And finally an embrace for Helen, my confidante and witness at my wedding to Gill. She is the daughter I never had and my soul mate. She tells it like it is: “Fuck the bastards Nic, you are beautiful!”
A man is known by his friends and not his enemies and I am a very lucky man.

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Author: seagullnic

Writer, editor, lecturer and part-time musician. Passions in life: my family, Bob Dylan, music of many genres, Brighton and Hove Albion FC, cooking plus good food and wine.

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