From my perspective, the value that I receive from the many friends that I have around the world is enormously significant. It doesn’t matter whether the friends are currently living in my home town of Amble or in any one of so many places in the far flung corners of the world.
As you will know I am now staying in Bangkok, Thailand and I do feel very privileged to be able to meet and talk to people from all over the world. People from very different cultures provide fascinating insights into their daily lives. The majority of them however, have one thing in common: that is the ability to communicate in English – the universal language. I thoroughly enjoy discussing a wide variety of issues that apply to their home country or to my country. They are certainly very curious to know about England.
Part of the condominium is managed by an international hotel and so there are many short-stay holiday makers and business executives who come to relax there. This provides me with the opportunity to engage them in conversation.
I read a story last week about a man who had just celebrated his 110th birthday. He was asked if he had a secret formula that had somehow enabled him to live for so long. His answer was brief: “Just keep breathing!” Sound advice!
I vividly recall a story my father told me when I was still a school boy. Although he’d never played football – strange as it may seem – he was a good sprinter and really enjoyed swimming. He and his pals would often swim at Hauxley where there was a deep rock pool.
On one occasion Dad was swimming and got into difficulties to the point where he thought he might drown. As he struggled he got his little finger entangled in some seaweed that was clinging to a rock. This enabled him to pull himself to the surface, at which point his friends realized the situation and pulled him out.
But for that little finger and the friends that were there to lend a helping hand there would never have been the “King Brothers”. Can I hear some of you say: “More’s the pity for that !” This story begs the question, “Why do some people lose their lives so prematurely and yet others go on for so long?” This is surely a question that will never be resolved.
Ronny Craggs, who worked with me as a painter and decorator for N. and F. Young, once said to me, “Raymond you’re big and strong but you’re not very healthy.” I never did find out why he said that to me. I am still here but Ronny died many years ago at a relatively young age. The operative words are: “Enjoy life! Keep breathing! Relish your close friendships!”
Thanks to those of you who have already bought my book and also thanks for your kind words. To those of you who have yet to read it I hope that you enjoy it.
Best wishes to you all.