Words for Friends #12

This is part of a new series of blogs entitled Words for Friends, in which I will try to acknowledge some people in my life for whom words of thanks are not nearly enough.

These living epitaphs to my true and lovely friends are published in a random order as fancy takes me.

#12 Anissa

I don’t sense affection, no gratitude or love, your loyalty is not to me but to the stars above… one more cup of coffee for the road, one more cup of coffee ‘fore I go, to the valley below.

These words by Bob Dylan have always resonated with me since I first met the lovely Anissa in 2014.

Anissa is so many things: French, Tunisian, an Anglophile, Muslim, a deeply caring mother, a lover of art and North African food, a fiery advocate for justice, a fighter and writer for Palestinian freedom, a caffeine addict, stunningly beautiful, an amazing friend and someone you would choose first to be on your side in a conflict.

Our friendship has grown on so many levels over the past two years and rarely a day goes by when I don’t receive a message checking if I am okay and offering advice or assistance. She is always there.

Geographical distance may separate us, but Anissa is very dear to me as a rock and a friend on that long road to the valley below … one more cup of coffee!

Words for Friends #11

This is part of a new series of blogs entitled Words for Friends, in which I will try to acknowledge some people in my life for whom words of thanks are not nearly enough.

These living epitaphs to my true and lovely friends are published in a random order as fancy takes me.

#11 Jo

Jo is one of the truest friends I could ever have wished for.

We first met in our second year at university, and now 40 years later

she carries secrets about me which she would never share. Well the last bit is a lie, because she shares them regularly to everyone’s amusement … including me!

As young students, Jo and I shared the same friends, music, humour, drinking places and vulgar Tory politics. I fancied her rotten, but we were only ever good friends. Now we talk regularly about those days… except the politics, which we try to bury as deep as Margaret Thatcher’s grave.

Like many student friendships, ours waned after graduation as we both left the campus environs in search of jobs, careers and family.

Then by chance (Friends Reunited) in 2003, we rediscovered each other and a new close friendship was reborn. It is nurtured almost weekly through social media, emails and buckets of shared retrospective humour.

A highlight in recent years was meeting Jo and her husband Ian for a coffee in 2014, when we could at last sit down, catch up and span the years since we last met. It was a wonderful moment.

Today, Jo is one of the first people I always turn to for advice and support, because I trust her implicitly and value every word she shares.

She is quite simply lovely… and a real best friend.

 

Words for Friends #10

This is part of a new series of blogs entitled Words for Friends, in which I will try to acknowledge some people in my life for whom words of thanks are not nearly enough.

These living epitaphs to my true and lovely friends are published in a random order as fancy takes me.

#10 Ian

My friendship with Ian comes home on so many levels.

We were both brought up in the same part of Sussex – albeit three years apart in age – and the same pubs, gigs, record stores and venues were our playground as older teenagers. We are also both lifelong obsessive fans of Brighton and Hove Albion. Our first Albion games were exactly one year apart!

Yet our shared passion did not bring us together until an Albion away game with Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough, in March 2004! Then through football, Fans United for Wrexham, music and conversation our friendship grew.

But, it was not until I suffered my breakdown in 2013, that I discovered the true measure of Ian’s friendship and concern. As two family men, who both love our children dearly, we have shared many heart wrenching moments and confessions – the sort that blokes don’t normally chat about in a pub!

And those confessions and conversations continue now.

As the last full measure, I know Ian is always there as a true friend, an open ear, a confidante and a great mate… thank you. UTA!