I have people in my life that I have loved and adored just about forever ...
I met my friend Fiona when we were 13, first year in High School. She was a Fairfield girl ... a bus girl, and I lived just down the road from the school. We were both a bit nervous about that first year at this enormous high school and, I was so lucky, we became friends.
I would drag her home for lunch at my place sometimes. Back then, she was a Cadbury's Peppy Chew addict, and introduced me to the whole range ... caramel and, I think, spearmint chews too. They were great days though. Phone conversations and laughter in class.
And then ... she couldn't shake me off. Where ever I've wandered and lived since then, the story of my friend Fiona usually comes up. She remains the friend I would I most like to be like when I grow up.
Later, after quite some moves around the country as my first husband climbed his career ladder, I arrived at Base Woodbourne, as an officer's wife. Oh I was wide-eyed back then, in those days on the base, as I learned the etiquette of that military life there.
Again, I met an amazing woman who went on to become another one of the big loves in my life.
Christine had been an officer's wife for a while by then. and she contacted me, even before I arrived on base. Her husband, the lovely Peter, had recruited my husband as an education officer. He thought I might need some support as Chris went off to train for 6 months.
We had so much fun there on the base. I remember a million cups of tea in her sun-filled kitchen, her fabulous baking, the treasures she sewed, and much laughter. We soon had a gang of like-minded women who did things like taking me off to the secondhand shop in town, on a sherry glass hunting expedition. We never really took anything really seriously though.
Actually, we 4 almost drowned in the base swimming pool one day. We got the giggles at the deep end. It was worrisome ... trying to stop laughing long enough to reach one of the sides. We made it.
I can't remember who moved first. We only did 4 years on that base, surrounded by some of New Zealand's top wineries ... Cloudy Bay, Alan Scott and Montana, to name a few. I didn't drink wine back then. I was happy to be 'the driver'. But Christine and I stayed in touch.
I spent some time with them on the base at Ohakea. They spent some time with us down in Fiordland.
I'm rarely on skype but today, while catching up with Christine and Peter, Fiona and Barry came online and I went from an hour with one much-loved friend, straight into an hour with another much-loved friend.
I'm exhausted. It was amazing. We all laughed often, caught up on news ... my cup runneth over. It's 10.42am and here I am, exhausted.
We have made plans for when Gert and I go home in December. Small plans, to be enlarged upon when I have our dates. But expect to laugh a lot, talk more and probably, when I see everyone again ... I think there will be tears.