Old friends, like the Mastercard advert, are priceless. I am lucky enough to have a group of friends who have been an important part of my life for more than two thirds of my lifetime so far.
We shared boarding school experiences together in small town South Africa. Our school was an all-girl English medium school in the predominantly Afrikaans University town of Potchefstroom. We went through exam stress, broke school rules, got homesick together, and more. We all had a propensity for challenging the status quo: one of the characteristics that bonded us.
After graduating from school, we continued to meet up for lunches and social events. In time, two of us left South Africa to live in other countries which meant our lunches became far less frequent and far more precious.
Every time I go back to South Africa, we make sure to meet up. Last month I managed to gate crash a birthday dinner for one of them. Her surprise made the evening together all the more brilliant. Thinking about our friendship after I got back home, I wanted to paint the way I visualise it, so I’ve done a small watercolour for each of the three wonderful women I count as some of my oldest friends.
Since we left school we’ve gone though even more together – through illness, job losses, births, loss of parents, broken hearts and brilliant joys. We’ve supported each other, influenced each other (for good, in the main) laughed together and cried together. I am proud to count these three as my old friends. I know that above all else, we will continue to challenge each other and support each other.
The three of my old friends at last month’s dinner:
Suzie – the birthday girl. Always expanding her knowledge. Intrepid traveller. Outrageously funny. Wonderfully warm.
Jen – Daring and adventurous. Just about to embark on a new and exciting venture. Indomitable, unsquashable and generous.
Charkie – Determined, warm, astute. Businesswoman of note. Collaborator in birthday party surprises.
There’s a specific colour that represents each one of my old friends – I’m sure they will work out which one is which.