Yesterday I enjoyed the company of three old pals, two of whom I know from university and one from school. As Dr Johnson so rightly observed “As you go,through life the only thing you cannot obtain is an old friend” yet such friendships fall by the wayside through lack of regular contact, geographical distance or disagreement. Sometimes too your partner will say they can not abide X or Y.
For me the fact that you have a friendship for a number of years is not enough to sustain it in itself. There needs to be some communality of interest. In the case of my school friend we were soon discussing a series of articles in The Times about the abuse by teachers of schoolboys at our school. The odd thing is that, whilst the senior school was frequently mentioned, such abuse mainly took place in the junior school which many like me never attended. The issue for us was the loyalty we felt towards one teacher we all knew and liked but who had transgressed.
Later over dinner I mentioned to my uni friend and host that, the previous evening in a conversation with another school friend who always was of the Left, I was surprised by his anti-immigration stance over the refugee issue. He believed that until identity was firmly established no immigrant should be allowed unmonitored entry. When this issue was raised over dinner my uni friend (of right wing persuasion) took precisely the opposite view, advocating the advantages of enhancing the labour force by absorbing such people. Unusually for me, my mind is neither made up on the issue, nor can I see any resolution. My grandfather was an immigrant and his 3 sons all did well making valuable contributions to society. Yet I can see how easy it would be for a Jihadist to slip in to cgive the ommit an outrage.
It it occurred to me too that one of the strengths of old and proven friendships is that you can have such discussions without a falling out. At the Players Theatre in the arches off the Strand they end the show singing
” Good old pals, jolly old pals
Give me the friendship of jolly old pals.”