Like Gareth, I seem to start most of my blog posts with "Oh no, I've been neglecting you - but I've got lots of new stuff to say, so expect regular posts from now on!" He's a bit better at actually keeping that promise, though. So what's been going on? My health is being especially dick-ish again, so I've been down about that - stressing out about tests, worried about medicines, and generally being a right misery to be around.
I can't change that overnight; I feel so on edge that I keep grabbing at ferns and long dead roots to keep me from falling off. However, gloom is not my master. I was cooking dinner tonight and a thought kept spinning though my head, 'If S hadn't spent so much time telling us about potatoes, the best ones for each season and for different types of cooking, our meals would be far less tasty right now. Yet none of us were very appreciative at the time.' I wanted to tweet him, but every time I tried to condense the thought into 140 characters it looked even more ludicrous than it had when I started. And yet all I was trying to do was express how much I appreciated his friendship, his shared knowledge and care that he applies to all things.
Despite my tweeting failure, it reminded me how much I loved our friends - of R who I miss terribly because he's moved away and tends to keep himself to himself (a problem I know far too well), and was the other foodie nerd, always creating things that seemed so refined and ridiculous for breakfast but then lived on Pepsi the rest of the time. And L, who wouldn't know a frying pan if I hit her over the head with one, but is the best listener, ridiculously patient and has the most common sense of anybody I know.
Our little motley crew (and motley really is the best word to describe us: young and old(er), educated and less so, extroverts and introverts we're tacked together by the glue of geekiness and years of love and shared experiences.) grew with R2 - the quietest of us all and yet probably the most witty, with a dry intellectual humour that has us in fits. Cinema became something regularly discussed rather than just an indoor activity on a rainy Cardiff day.
And then there are those who can't be there all the time - those that have commitments or live away, but every time they come out for a drink, or to play a game or simply a chat, Gareth and I always drive home saying 'It's always so nice when R3, or B, or L2, or P, or R4 and J is out, I wish we could see them more often.' The conversation drifts depending on who is out - to the utterly geeky about minute details of things, to singing randomly and joyfully just because (a few too many gins have been had) or to discussing the best gossip in town with brightly-lit eyes.
And then there's C, the rare star I keep in touch with from the horrible pre-Wales years, who knows me better than any other silly bugger on this planet and will always - and forever, I hope - bring me back down to earth with a bump and then the next second send me floating away again on some ridiculous scheme.
Gloom has a way of being all-consuming, of gripping you tight in an uncomfortable cwtch that you can't shake off. Worse, you stop wanting to shake it off because those cold arms become normal, become what you're used to and you start worrying how the air will feel against your skin once you're released from that soulless cuddle. My friends shine so brightly, the gloom fades to the background. I love them more than my rubbish words could ever say, and hopefully they are well aware of that.
And thank you, Ga, for always holding my hand and kissing my worries away.