It was my bithday yesterday, and a lovely day it was too :o) My friend H came to stay with me over the weekend and yesterday she made me a brunch of boiled eggs and toast. Living on my own it's a rare treat to have someone make me a meal. Shortly after that I had to drive over to Durham for a tutorial for my Open University course. This wasn't exactly what I wanted to be doing on my birthday, but it was interesting and it'll help with the next assignment (analysis of the Coleridge poem 'The Eolian Harp'), which I'm not particularly looking forward to. We only have face-to-face contact on this course about once a month (though that's more than on my previous course, which was 3 tutorials in 8 months!), and I always seem to come away from them feeling slightly brain-dead. However, yesterday I had lots to look forward to and, although busy-headed, I was quite chipper. So I arrived back home and had an hour to get the place sorted before some of my friends came over to play games, which turned out to be Trivial Pursuit. I've always enjoyed playing games, ever since I was a child, and remember getting quite frustrated that my mum wasn't much of a game player, though she would play sometimes and now enjoys a game of Scrabble. So anyway, H and I were joined by a couple of my friends in the second part of the afternoon for games, and gradually more people arrived and we went down to Peppy's (the one restaurant in Newcastle that can/will cater for me. I've written about them before). Fifteen of us had a lovely meal at Peppy's - an Italian restaurant about three minutes walk down the road - and again I enjoyed it without being accidentally poisoned. This is always a bonus ;o) Having spent two and a half hours at Peppy's most people went home afterwards, but a couple came back to mine to finish the game of Trivial Pursuit, which we didn't actually finish, but called it quits at midnight.
I have lovely friends, and I feel very blessed to have them in my life. There was a time when I was younger (early teens) when I didn't have any friends and I was so terribly lonely. This wasn't because I was a bad person or unfriendly, but because I was desperately unhappy, and in my unhappiness I stopped talking. I didn't speak for four years, and when you don't speak you can't make friends. I think that this experience and my precarious health has meant that I now value the friendships I have very deeply and am so thankful for them. I know that my illness and frequent scrapes with death is stressful to my friends and others who love me, and I think it's a testament to them that they don't run away from me in fear. After all, when you are friends with someone you give something of yourself away. All my friends take the risk of losing that gift of themselves that they've given me if I should not make it through an asthma attack at sometime. Instead of running in fear though, they give themselves freely and celebrate with me, and for that I am eternally grateful.