Went to a very special 'do' the other day. An ex-colleague of mine has been a teacher for 50 years, so she decided to invite 50 'representatives' of various stages of her long career. I was fortunate enough to be on the guest list. The highlight of the evening was a speech in which she thanked everyone for all the support they've given her over the years. One of the many observations she made was that the people with whom you decide to share your life have a huge effect on its quality. Not an earth-shattering revelation, to be sure, but one which sometimes needs to be reiterated when we moan about things which we forget are actually trivial. I wondered if I'll ever be lucky enough to enjoy an evening at which some of the guests have been my friends for 50 years.

Then I realised that I'm not doing too badly so far. Last week, a friend and his wife came over for a visit and he and I realised that we've known each other for over 20 years. We've also been very good at keeping in touch with each other, which hasn't been particularly easy, as we haven't lived in the same country for over 10 years. So I guess what I'm saying is that regardless of what other successes I may or may not achieve, I do hope I'm always blessed with the company of friends.

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