On Saturday my good friend Geraldine came to visit me.
G. and I go back. Way back. We knew each other as kids. We met at the riding stables and we bonded over Horses and Ponies, brushing the yard, mucking out. And that kind of friendship is the best kind of friendship, the kind of friendship that lasts a lifetime.
These days G. is a Vet. She had always wanted to be a Vet. She is also a Mum to two exceptional boys. To Jamie, the Piano-playing, Guitar-playing, Mathematician, Scientist, Teenager and Genius; and to Johnny the Gorgeous, Funny, Rugby-playing, Drum-playing, all-knowing eight year old trouble-maker (I blame the parents!). G. is also married to the Gorgeous, Engineering, Entertaining, old enough to know better, Giz.
G. finds time in her busy schedule (as well as being a Vet and Mum and Wife, and she is a Tri-Athlete and has raised money, raised c.£1,400 for Canine Partners competing in the Chatsworth House Olympic Distance Triathlon) to come and visit me with her Black Labrador Super Sonic. And so Sonic gets a new ball and we head off on a doggy walk, and as Sonic chases his ball, G. and I catch up on all the latest gossip. And then we come back and have lunch, or as a real treat we go out and have lunch.
G. and Sonic used to compete in Dog Agility and we used to have great fun going to competitions, taking it in turns to make the picnic, meeting other dogs and owners. We used to refer to it as going 'Dogging' and would giggle as people were shocked thinking we were referring to the 'sex in public places' type of 'Dogging' rather than 'Dog Agility'. The picnics got more and more extravagant each trip out and at one memorable show with glorious weather everyone got invited back for Pimms (with all the fruit trimmings) and nibbles. I am Sonic's Official Photographer. Happy Happy Days.
G. has collected me and taken me to Rugby Festivals that Johnny has competed in with Hinckley Rugby Football Club and Johnny is rather modest about the fact that I am his official photographer.
There is something about Old Friends that is enduring and re-assuring. Old Friends know the best of you and know the worst of you. They've see you through thick and thin. Through good times and bad times. They know your secrets, and you know theirs. You can't really upset them. You can't really shock them. They are just there, and that is exactly where you need them to be.
G. understand how difficult I am finding it to come to terms with my MS and with the implications that this has placed upon me, recognises how upsetting and distressing I find it not being able to do the things that I was once able to do, but G. works with me to find ways that work so that we can still do some of the things that we have always done.