Ffrindie’ Friends

I was never a big fan of the hit series Friends, which is strange when I come to think of it, as real friends are the back bone of my life. I seem to have collected a fantastic stable of them, from all walks of life, and all ages, throughout my existence. Some funny, some extraordinary talented, some as mad as a box of frogs, some spiritual, but all genuine, loyal, and kind.

I met my first ‘real’ friend on my very first day of school at the age of three. Lynda had long blonde hair, and looked like an angel. I would brush her hair in the playground at lunchtime, while all the other boys used to beat each other up. A few months into our first school term, the headmistress found me crying by the sand pit with a hairbrush in my hand, and asked what was wrong. “Lynda Evans has cut her hair, Miss, and I’ve got nothing to brush!” I sobbed. I never quite got over her dramatic new look, but we’ve been the best of friends ever since. She’s still an angel, but her halo could do with a bit of a polish! There’s something so comforting about long relationships, an in-depth knowledge of each other’s strengths and weaknesses, a shorthand in communication, a trust, and, most importantly, a shared sense of humour.

I love the fact that you never quite know where or when your next close friend is going to pop up, it’s like the lottery. One of my best friends started out as a potential buyer of my first ever flat! Sadly, he never bought that flat, but bizarrely he did buy a house of mine 20 years later! We’re very close. Then there was an ‘on screen’ co-host that tried to chat me up while we were both presenting Children in Need, live on the steps of the BBC. Yes, you’ve guessed it! Miss Sian Lloyd. She was no better at guessing my sexuality, than she was at predicting the weather, at times. Anyway, I explained that I was on a different bus to her, and we’ve been close ever since, and laugh and dine together frequently, if not too frequently! It’s a connection. Quite a few of my friends are foodies actually, and therefore dining together is bliss, especially the ones who like the same dishes as me, which means that every feeding time becomes a sharing of everything! Bingo! My favourite type of friends!

I do keep in contact regularly with my friends, and love to get everyone together as often as possible. Life is too short, and time goes so quickly. I have managed to gather most of them for all my ‘big’ birthdays, those from childhood, drama school, Brookside, West End, and everything in between. At my parties there is an immense joy for me, seeing a room full of my life: singers, farmers, builders, presenters, teachers, actors and mentors, all scrambled together. Some friends I speak to weekly, some I don’t see for months, but I make sure we stay close in our own way. They are family, my guides, and my comfort, and they are most definitely my pride and joy. They bring all those magic moments into my life, time after time, after time.

I recently landed in Alicante for a holiday, and was standing in line for a taxi at the airport, when I received a call from an old friend who said they happened to be at the same airport. Sadly, there was no time to meet up as he had a flight to catch. Minutes later, just as I was getting into my taxi, he came running from nowhere to surprise me, and have me a really big, long hug. He then ran back into the airport to catch his flight, as I grinned from ear to ear for the rest of my first day of my holiday. Magic.

I love the fact that I have the best friends in the world, and I keep ’em close. I hope you do the same.