Tuesday, 22 February 2011

In which friends are worth their weight in lowered blood pressure

There are times in life when things around you are a wee touch stressful. Like when The Father’s just retired and, as flippant as you’ve been about him dropping dead as soon as he has a chance to relax, you’re actually quite concerned as to how he’s going to cope; or you’re about to start a new job that, now you’ve sat down and thought about it properly, you’ve realised is going to be paralysingly terrifying.

And it’s at times like those it’s good to remind yourself that there are people around you who, by the simple act of being there, make things better.

Sometimes, those are the people who’ve not been around very long, but you’ve decided you’d rather not be without, thanks all the same.

JournoGal and The Redhead are both relatively recent acquisitions to Social Circle Blonde, but – by merit of their proclivity for a large glass (or two) of hearty red and non-stop natter that would make Josh Lyman look mute – they’ve both cemented their places on the Dinner Party Invitation list.

A recent dinner at Byron* in Covent Garden with JournoGal resulted in a recommendation for mascara; the loan of what looks to be a cracking book; and much mutual, useful advice on everything from flatmates to racing tips. Drinks with The Redhead resulted mostly in a hangover (but only hers. Smug, moi?) and huge giggles (oh. And my challenging her culinary whiz boyfriend to a pudding-off. This may have been one of my less-clever moves. I have some recipe ideas, but any winners you have tucked away up your sleeves would be hugely appreciated).

There are people who, with just a few words, can totally lighten the load, probably without realising the calming effect they have.

The weekend saw a lovely and long-overdue catch up with Foreign Correspondent, back in the UK between trips to Unstable Climes.

Over coffee and blondies (a flapjack-brownie hybrid that happen to have a rather appropriate name), we chatted and he showed me some frankly unbeatable “what I did on my holiday” snaps on his Blackberry before he had a nose round the house.

“Is that your sister?” he said, pointing to a picture on the wall of me and Best Mate at one of our annual Edinburgh winter barbecue parties.

“Nope,” I said. “The best friend. And that’s the other best friend.” I pointed to a shot above it of Speckled Lad and I in our favourite bar. “Off to War Zone in September.”

“He’ll be okay, you know.” And then FC proceed to rattle off statistics and anecdotes, telling me just how much safer SL’s particular part of War Zone is; how fighting isn’t as bad outside of the summer period; how there’s a huge flatscreen telly at the base camp for showing sport. “He will be fine.”

I know he will - but it’s so good to hear it reiterated from someone else who’s been, who knows what it’s like, who’s seen it. I think I owe FC more baked goods, at the very least.

And then there are those people you’ve known FOREVER.

Best Mate, a total stalwart for the 14 years that we’ve been pretty much inseparable, can always be relied upon to bring a girl down to earth and provide a gentle reminder that things aren’t, in fact, so bad.

In other news, a recent email ran, how do you fancy Mooted Holiday Destination in September? It’s possible to get back by some means if our airline decides to fold. Also, I think the chance of political uprisings there are quite slim.

Perspective: I can haz it. Along with some pretty fabulous friends to whom I’ll always be grateful. Unless their puddings are better than mine, in which case I’ll just be cross.

*Go. I’m a horrible veggie, and I had a great time. Anything smothered in goats’ cheese (as their veggie burger is) is A-OK as far as I’m concerned, but I hear the meaty stuff is pretty good. The courgette fries are a little limp, and just a touch greasy, but the coleslaw is surprisingly addictive.


Will said...

Their onion rings = winner.

Overpriced, mind.

nuttycow said...

And of course, you have us, the random internet posse who adore you too :)

Blonde said...

Will: Ooh, not tried the onion rings. Whaddya know - now I'll have to go back.

NC: Aw, shucks. You lot are pretty awesome too.

Vicky said...

I have a superb Toblerone mousse recipe if you're interested. Best chocolate mousse in the world :)

Blonde said...

Vicky: I am exceptionally interested. Blondemoments [at] hotmail [dot] co [dot] uk. You star, thank you!

HC said...

Did someone say Toblerone Mousse? Happy to volunteer as chief taster / adjudicator.

No mention of film-maker = Undeniable shenanigans. How is my eight months prediction going?

Redbookish said...

Funny thing about complete strangers on tinternet, isn't it? Met up with a gang of internet Archers fans last weekend & we had a whale of a time, until 2am ( oooof ) and nary an axe murderer among 'em.

Pudding recipes: I have 2: chocolate mousse using a gazillion eggs, dark chocolate, and double cream; and my frangipane tart -- very short pastry (4oz butter to 5 oz flour, keep it cold), frangipane custard, and whatever fruit you feel like on top (marinaded in alcohol first of course). Recipes in my favourite book, Mastering the Art of French Cooking (2 thick paperback vols -- the ORIGINAL Julia Childs!).

The Redhead said...

Mr. Collins is absolutely going to have to step up his game at this rate.

Blonde said...

HC: They did. The recipe came through last night. It looks DELICIOUS. Extra adjudicators might be useful, as I can't promise The Redhead sex in order to tip the balance.

Redbookish: Internet folk, by and large, seem to be awesome. An odd thing, as I know a fair few people in life who are decidedly less so. And I've been sent a rhubarb and frangipan recipe that might just make the list too. I am going to enjoy the testing of these immensely.

TR: No. There will be no stepping up. I need all the help I can get.

Mike said...

I've adopted a policy of considering any book I lend someone gone forever and ordering a new copy.

I'll still lend out almost any book I have, except those that are signed.

I kind of wish I'd kept track of who got what like you, Blonde...but never did. Interesting to see who has what.

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