An old friend of mine was visiting over the holidays and we took the opportunity to escape from the city and hide out in a Country House to properly catch up. Our choice of venue was Marlfield House in the South East of Ireland, long over looked by both of us but utterly charming from the moment we stepped inside. With its treasure trove of antiques, we spent far longer than planned admiring paintings and gilt edged mirrors, testing armchairs and discussing the merits of a bidet in our chic accommodation.
After walking the grounds, past kitchen gardens, peacocks and tennis courts we finally flopped down in front of a roaring fire for afternoon tea with a glass of bubbles. Deep and meaningful conversation is something I love and my friend, who is extremely well versed on current affairs, provides the most interesting and thought provoking fodder.
With the evening and overnight unfolding in front of us, we could easily have worked our way through Russian politics over cocktails, with Trump for dinner, Syria for late evening, relegating Brexit to breakfast. But of course, we did nothing of the sort. Instead, we quickly fell into an engrossing conversation about our lives, our plans, our dreams, loves and heartaches. The hours ticked on as our glasses got refilled and we pondered all the wheres and whys of our lives, breaking only to change for dinner, but continuing our conversation late into the night. After 24 hours, we had thoroughly caught up and were ready to go our separate ways, promising to be in touch but likely with busy schedules only really reconnecting at some distant date in the future.
It never ceases to amaze me how friendships endure over years and decades, from across the globe, through absences and silences. It is as if an invisible thread keeps you magically connected so that when you meet again you simply pick up that thread and recommence where you left off. Other friendships are of course more frequent. Friends who are in step with the daily pattern of your life, who know that the best time to catch you is at 8.00am in the morning and always like your corny facebook posts! Other friends come as part of a group, you can’t have A without B being there and ultimately such occasions end up being too much fun and memorably raucous. As is the case in life, friendships ebb and flow and some friends fade away. Equally new friends appear on the scene, sometimes through random or chance encounters which make you wonder does the universe bring certain people into your life for a reason?
I guess the point with all this is that friends are to be cherished. I was reminded once again at Marfield of the power of friendship. Its so easy to be consumed with family, work, travel and sometimes fitness (yoga). But making time for friends near or dear, local or far away is invaluable.