Here’s to great friendships
Last week we had friends come to stay. Living overseas away from most friends and family, means visits like it are treasured. While modern communications make staying in touch easy, there’s nothing quite like sitting down, sharing a good meal, a few glasses of wine and chatting. We began as we meant to go on with a stop in St Emilion when I collected them from Bordeaux airport. We wandered about, we ate, we drank red wine. We talked. We were us.
With Annabel and Kathleen, our typical chats ranged in the space of a short while across topics as diverse as gardening, dogs, death, politics, food, France, ageing dogs, siblings, young dogs, cats, weather, swimming, puppy farming, books, wine, dogs, working lives, modern lives, feminism, podcasts, and did I mention dogs? We talked about more topics in two days than I’ve probably talked in two years! We talked a lot. About a lot. Sometimes seriously, more often not.
Kathleen and I love plants and gardening, she threw out Latin names, I threw some back. She had a plant nursery in Norway once upon a time, I taught botanical sciences and prescribed herbs in another life. Annabel came up with a perfect quote and captured it perfectly.
We basked in the luxury of having two whole days to just be together. To just be. Us and the dogs, oh, and Michel who happily played resident chef and kitchen porter. I think it’s good for him, he should keep his skills up now he’s retired, I’d hate for him to get rusty!
Ours is a friendship that began with our dogs. In the few years we’ve known each other, we’ve lost 4 dogs between us – 3 of those being Kathleen’s. Dogs are how we first connected and they hold us in a common bond that grows richer and deeper every year.
The three of us have quite different lives in many ways, but one thing we share without question is a commitment to giving dogs the best lives possible. And to help those who need better lives. Our friendship is fun, we laugh a lot but also share sombre moments. While we do some good in the world where we can, we also want to enjoy doing it. It was C.S Lewis who said,
What draws people to be friends is that they see the same truth. They share it.
It is only through the grace of having great friends in my life like Kathleen and Annabel that my various efforts to make a difference to the dogs succeed. By my closest friends offering their counsel – sometimes not heeded I do admit – this empowers me to push on with ideas and hope they work out.
Schnauzerfest is the most influential, life-changing thing I’m involved with. In just 5 years it’s raised over £151,000, a sum that rises daily. And it’s done with friends beside me all the way, and their friends and their friends and their friends of friends. Schnauzerfest has grown from friendships and every year it creates more. When I came across these words a while back, I knew why they made sense to me.
Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.Anais Nin
Here’s to great friendships, long may they last.