It is said that if you count your friends on more than one hand you are very lucky. True friends are always there when you want them, and visa versa. However there is often a “Best Friend” without whom your life would not be the same. People say that you don’t make friends after you are fifty as you get set in your ways. I don’t agree.
My BF is Pamela and from the moment I met her we forged a bond that has not broken throughout birth, death, divorce, moving houses, even moving countries.
But I knew she was pretty special right from the start. I was invited to a shooting party and was told that Pamela would be coming up on the same train as me and I was to wait on the platform for her. The train was about to pull out when a vision appeared running down the platform wearing a straw hat and a silver fox coat closely followed by a rather breathless chap carrying her suitcase!
We both collapsed into our seats and after saying hello to each other Pamela announced we should go and find the bar. It was evident that she and her swain had already imbibed a few glasses and she wanted more. She is so glamorous with wonderful blonde hair and a great figure that I look rather dull next to her. It was always thus!
On reaching the bar she rather loudly told the barman that we would like a bottle of champagne. On hearing British Railways did not have any she huffed and proceeded to order double vodkas for both of us. I thought it best to keep pace with her as she recounted the story of her life at the top of her voice. It had been rather a racy one that had everyone straining to hear more. Pamela obliged.
Safe to say we both fell off the train rather the worst for wear. Pamela’s boyfriend who came to collect us was not amused, threw our suitcases in the boot and roared off to the house where we were staying.
We shall gloss over the evening which for some reason (it may have been the champagne!) set both of us in fits of giggles like a pair of naughty school girls! Many people have said that about us. With a combined age of one hundred and seven we can’t be expected to remember our school days at all.
Next morning everyone stood in the hall suitably kitted out their shooting garb of wellington boots and Barbour jackets. Pamela descended the stairs wearing the outfit she arrived in plus a pair of black knee high stiletto boots in suede and snakeskin and her straw hat. Her boyfriend told her in no uncertain terms to go and get properly dressed. She just threw him one of her haughty looks (which I would come to know only too well) and said that was all she had to wear.
When we arrived at our destination there were two fields to cross before we got to the shooting stakes. The fields were surrounded by barbed wire and very, very muddy. She could hardly walk due to the mud and we had to stop every 5 minutes so I could take the mud off the heels of her boots, and of course hold up the barbed wire so that she could climb under it, clutching her hat and get into the next field. Needless to say we were in gales of laughter.
The start of a lifelong friendship
Our friendship started then and there. Oh the scrapes that Pamela got me in, some of which I shall gloss over. Others were too funny for words. We had a favourite restaurant that we went to one evening and she got chatting to two chaps on the next table and the next thing I knew we were all sitting in a taxi heading for a nightclub.
Once we were there and chatting away she announced that she had to go to the Ladies to powder her nose. Needless to say I sat with the two rather dull men waiting for her to come back and carry on where she left off. She didn’t come back and after an excruciating long wait I announced that I had to go to the Ladies as well.
Luckily the owner, who I had known for years was there. I told him about my situation so he swiftly went into action getting someone to get my coat and when it arrived he very kindly led me through the kitchens, out of the club and into a taxi.
When I told her what had happened she thought it was hysterical and said she only left because she was bored. If she hadn’t been such a friend I would have clocked her one.
Laughter plays a big part in our friendship
Laughter plays a big part in our friendship and some of her outrageous behaviour rubbed off on me. We went to lunch one day and I had just had an operation on my big toes so I needed a pair of sandals. There was a shoe shop in the same street and we tottered in there. Actually it was Pamela tottering and me limping.
When the salesman saw my bandaged toes he asked what had happened to them. For absolutely no reason at all I said that I was trying to back a horse into a horsebox when the horse reversed and stood on my feet. At hearing that he launched into what he does to load his steed. How on earth did I come across a shoe salesman in London who knew all about getting a horse into a box?
Pamela kept butting into our conversation with ridiculous comments such as” And how big was your horse Jane?”before running out of the shop. I could see she was giggling, looking at me through the window as I struggled to remember how you did it. I used to ride and knew enough about the subject to exchange stories for ten minutes. I had to hurry him along with the choice of sandal. I thought that Pamela was going to explode she was laughing so much. So I bought a pair and we went back to the restaurant for a large drink! Purely for medical reasons you understand.
Friendship and relationships with men
I wouldn’t say that my BF ruined my relationships with men after all she did come to both my weddings. However I once found really a rather good looking chap who after going out with him for a month suggested that we go to Trinidad and Tobago for a couple of weeks. I was thrilled and of course said yes.
I told Pamela and she demanded to meet him just to see if she approved. For some reason which I still can’t fathom she arrived at the restaurant sporting a tweed flat cap (what is it with her and hats?) and an oversized cardigan. Her behaviour was just outrageous. Suffice it to say that I was dumped pretty rapidly and never saw him again except in the newspaper which announced that he had sold his company and was now a multi-millionaire. I forgave her, eventually.
My BF is pretty useless when it comes to anything remotely like DIY and always seemed to find a little man to do the job. Her fluttering eyelashes and low cut dresses were enough to send them rushing to help her out.
Her hopeless lack of technical skills were certainly demonstrated when we were both at her sister’s house in the South of France. She announced that she had bought one of those large plastic balls that are meant to help you exercise various parts of your body. Don’t ask! Anyhow she produced this thing which was flat as a pancake and toddled off to find the foot pump necessary to inflate the thing.
She came back waving something in the air shouting “I have found it”. It turned out to be a portable television ariel. I could not speak for the next five minutes I was laughing so much. When I explained what it was she didn’t see that it was at all funny. Strange that!
On the same visit I told her that a friend of mine had offered to take us out for dinner. He rang four times, changing the restaurant and hour for our meal. Pamela spoke to him on the fourth call and having worked out where we going and at what time she hung up not before saying what a w****** he was. The only problem was that she did not ring off and the poor chap heard it all. I was mortified, she was grinning.
Pamela had lived in France with her sister for a couple of years and never quite managed to grasp the language. On one occasion when I visited her we went out for lunch and she insisted that she order her own food instead of me translating the menu for her. When the waiter arrived she ordered spaghetti. Well you can’t really get that wrong, or can you?
Revelling in her new grasp of the language she asked the waiter for some cheese with her spaghetti. I said nothing. The waiter came back grasping a spoon. Well cheese and a spoon are easily mixed up aren’t they? From then on in Pamela very kindly let me translate again.
Friendship as we age
If you read this and think that all we do is laughing and drinking I can assure you that as we both grow older we still laugh like mad but have cut down on our drinking. Hangovers are best left for the young!
We have celebrated our fiftieth parties together in great style as we believe in a French saying “ A woman is like a wine, she improves with age”.
I could write more of the glorious adventures and situations my BF find ourselves in. But just let me say that I am so glad that she came into my life, and I hope she feels the same.
We hope that in our dotage we will be sitting together in the sun laughing as we rememberThe great adventures we had.
I hope that all of you have a Pamela in your life, scrapes and adventures and all.
Long live true friendship.