I have known Hazel since about 1973 when I was (she tells me) just embarking on being a stubborn teenager.. see, real friends aren't afraid to tell you, even if it is 30years later! My mum and step-dad, a real old school Mousehole fisherman, had B&B guests who soon became lifelong friends, and they in turn introduced us to Hazel. They worked at NCH Children's Home in Hertfordshire and came to Cornwall on holidays and with the home choir (who famously were the backing singers for Showaddywaddy's Hey Mr Christmas!... present for the first to sing a line!) I even spent a month one summer on work experience at the home and still have fond memories of the kids I met and the place.
A whole river full of water has flowed under the bridge since the 70's, one of Hazel's boys now lives about ten miles from me, and she has been the kind of friend who seems to be there just when you need them. We were so glad we could go up to celebrate her 60th birthday and spent quite a bit of time with her family and friends, she is much loved and has a great life in west Wales. It was a fun party, plenty of food and drink, lots of nostalgic pictures and some great songs too, Cat Steven's made his mark with Wild World, I love it.
At the end of the evening there were 6 lanterns, one for each decade, and we didn't feel the cold as we watched them drift away into the starry sky over Cardigan Bay.
A kind of emotional time, think I kind of felt I was there as Mum's representative, and it made me glad I have enough children and hope they will all be as close when they get older... there's a lot to be said for having people who share your history, even if they're not on your doorstep.