Cabin fever is bad at the moment. The long dark nights render too much of the fun stuff impossible, and it's the fun stuff I rely on to distract myself from the fact that I live somewhere I didn't choose a long way from people I love.
Fortunately there are consolations. This Saturday I met up with good friends (I would call them old friends but I fear that might sound rude) to go and see a panto in Southampton. I had failed to realise that Julian Clary was in it, so that was a happy surprise. Nothing has been funnier for many years than the sight of him dangling on a harness dressed in what looked like bubble wrap singing My Heart Will Go On next to Lee Mead.
I am also distracting myself by organising some of the structures that fell apart in recent times of difficulty. One of them is birthdays. Although it is bad for the environment to send munched up and flattened trees through the post I think it is good for the soul. I have a poster on my wall to write them on. Although it feels a little like a census of affection I think it is a good thing to think about.
Someone on twitter wrote that friends are in your life for a reason, a season or for life. You can't tell in advance which they are going to be. It's one of life's great adventures.