I’ve been writing this blog for six years now, and I’ve covered a lot of ground - local and national fiestas and public holidays, fairs, festivals, and other cultural events. I’ve written about the village, the surrounding countryside, and further afield. I’ve blogged about politics, employment problems. I’ve told you about Spanish food, and wine. All sprinkled with a fair number of photos where I could, to add interest. But there is one hugely important area that I don’t believe I have ever written about. Friends. Well, it’s about time that I put that right. What prompted me to think of this omission was the imminent departure - next Monday - of two of the first people that we got to know when we arrived in 2008. They, like us, have young grandchildren and they miss not seeing them more often than they do. They are aware that young grandchildren don’t stay young for very long and they want to be part of their growing up. So they have sold the house, sold the car, packed up the stuff they want in England and next week they wave goodbye to the August heat and head for the next stage of their life close to family. We shall miss them. If my wife and I were living here in isolation, on nodding terms with our Spanish neighbours,but otherwise just the two of us, I suspect that we would have been off back to England long before our friends. But Frigiliana is not like that. It has a large expat community - around a quarter of the population - with people drawn from the UK, large parts of northern Europe, and further afield; US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Africa. So we have Dutch and Scandinavian friends, as well as English, Irish, Scots and Welsh. Yesterday for instance we went down to the weekly market and then met up with an English friend whom we joined for a coffee and a chat, and then were joined by her Aussie friend, and so stayed chatting longer. On the way home, we came across another group of friends enjoying a drink outside one of the bars, and paused to pass the time of day. That’s the way it works. A couple of weeks ago we arranged to meet up with a friend one evening for tapas and a glass or two of wine. We sat there chatting and then along came two more good friends who sat down and joined us for a really enjoyable evening. Once a week we pop across the road to a local restaurant, and there we always run into a whole crowd of friends. But the friendships I have found here go deeper than that. This time last year I blogged a number of times about my diagnosis and treatment for prostate cancer, which I took pretty much in my stride. I couldn’t have done that alone. A number of friends - if they read this they will know who they are - had already trodden the road I was called upon to walk. Their experience, their support, but most of all their concern gave me the strength to know that I could deal with that episode in my life; I couldn’t have done it without them, or without the others who didn’t share the experience but still showed the level of their concern for me and my well-being during that difficult time. I’ve just read this over and corrected a couple of typos. Reading it, I can’t imagine how I’ve managed to blether on for so many years without touching on this subject before. We’re off to England on holiday very soon. I look forward to seeing all these lovely people again on my return.

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