As far as I’m concerned it’s not actually possible to have too many friends, though like so many things in life it’s probably better to go for quality over quantity. I am extremely lucky in this respect. Not only have I managed to hang onto the same group of friends since childhood, I’ve also made new friends over the years who are just as special to me (admittedly most of these friends are on the other side of the world). As I may have previously hinted at I’m not always the most sociable of people. To be honest a lot of the time people annoy the crap out of me, and I have never found it that easy to make new friends (perhaps they can sense the antisocial vibe…?), but when I found myself in a strange new country, alone and without knowing a single soul I was forced to make an effort. And I’m so glad that I did. “How lucky am I to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard?” said the great philosopher Confucius (just kidding, it was Winnie the Pooh). And damn right he was too. My friends whom I love from a distance (you know who you are – ST, MR, KC, CH, SC) mean just as much to me as those I grew up with. They are all entwined with beautiful memories of my time overseas and I find it impossible to think of them without wanting to both laugh and cry simultaneously. Maybe in some way the people who you choose to keep in your life as an adult have special significance because you did exactly that – you chose them. The friends of your youth have a different, but no more or less special, significance. They have grown up alongside you and stuck with you through school and puberty and terrible haircuts. Speaking of that unruly bunch (you know who you are, too) we’ve been through a lot together over the years. Between us we must have covered just about every possible eventuality that life can throw at you. Death of a parent, a sibling, a partner? Check. Unemployment, emigration, illness, mental breakdowns of various severities? Yep. We’ve now entered the baby-making stage of life, having gotten the marriage thing out of the way a little earlier than some. Presumably next on the agenda is parents evenings, early-onset dementia, hip replacements and mobility scooters. Things change, of course. Sometimes you’re closer than close, sometimes you can go for weeks or months with very little contact. Sometimes you’ll go through the same life-changing events together, at other times it might feel as if you’re living completely different lives. None of this stuff really matters though, and true friendship rides the ever changing waves of life with ease.