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.