Janet and I becaame friends aged 12 on our first day in secondary school. She met Pete, her lovely Kiwi husband in 1992 and married the year after us in 1995. Her two daughters, Laura and Amy were born in 1999 and 2002, and they're my God-daughters. At the end of 2002, Janet and her family moved to Plimmerton, New Zealand, and although I was heartbroken to see them go all that way, I knew it was the right thing to do, because the girls would have a fantastic life away in that amazing country.
We've seen each other about five times since then. They've been back over here, and we've gone out over there, and it's always been a joy to catch up.
This time, Janet's visit was a spur-of-the-moment decision, mainly brought about by the news that ten days ago, her grandma, Kath, who is about to celebrate her 103rd birthday had had a small stroke. Fearing the worst, Janet decided to come over for a flying visit.
By the time she had made her arrangements, travelled and finally set foot in the UK, she was greeted with the news, that Kath was making a good enough recovery to come home, and was complaining heartily that no-one had looked after her tomato plants properly while she was in hospital!
Janet, Mr D and I all had a lovely lunch together, then Janet and I dropped Mr D off at home, then set off for a bit of retail therapy in Camberley, the town where she used to live. I took a detour past her old house for old times sake.
We ended up the day in a local pub where we ate, drank and talked until we were hoarse.
Having friends so far afield is both at the same time a curse and a blessing. It hurts not to be able to spend more time with them, but it makes the time we do spend so much more precious!