This weekend we loaded up the car and went to stay with some old friends near Oxford. There were fourteen of us altogether – seven adults and seven children. We all go back a long way having met at work twenty years ago. Our children have grown up together and despite the fact that over the years we have all vacated London and now live in four separate counties we try to get together three or four times a year to catch up. Driving home today I realised that these meetings leave me re-charged and refreshed in a unique way; spending time with people who have known you for so long is so precious and quite unique. We met when we were all single with great jobs, disposable income and no ties. We worked, partied and holidayed together. One by one we married, swiftly followed by children 1-7. We have seen work triumphs and disasters, bereavements, childhood illness, miscarriage and divorce. We have sat around the table with all the kids lined up in high chairs and had illicit grown up weekends away leaving the children with grandparents so we could drink too much too quickly and fall in to bed exhausted by 10.00pm. This weekend was another milestone as the children have reached the age that the oldest could be left to look after the youngest while we went out to eat, it was almost inconceivable that so many years had passed so quickly. Spending time with friends who have known you for so long and through so many stages is so different to any other type of friendship. It’s the comfort of family without the politics, the relief of not having to pretend, act your current role, explain your history. Thank you to ‘the gang’ for re-filling my friendship tank and roll on our next meeting.