20 December 2006


Considering how frequently I change name and location - not to mention my ongoing reluctance to share contact details- it always comes as a pleasant surprise that good friends go to all the trouble of keeping in touch.

Finding a discrete package on my doorstep this morning, after having ascertained that it was not a nail-bomb from Australia, I quickly ripped off the wrapping to discover a gift from one of my most loved and most talented friends, the beautiful Ms H.

Our meeting back in January 2003 was a memorable one. We sat next to each other on the first day of a Spanish course, with all the class instructed to speak with their neighbour and then present their new acquaintance to all of those present. Needless to say, I had needed no encouragement to tell H just how fabulous I was; imagine my surprise to discover that she was almost quite as fabulous herself.

While this exercise in self-promotion produced awkward mumbling from our classmates, who delivered introductions such as ‘this is… um… and he’s from the Ukraine’, of course I presented H with aplomb as the most beautiful, fabulous and eligible woman in the building, available for dating immediately if there were any suitably heterosexual gentlemen callers, who I proposed to screen on her behalf… immediately securing H’s hand in friendship and rapturous applause from the audience.

Perhaps my fondest of all fond memories of H involves that first summer of our acquaintance. I was going to travel around Sicily with the wonderful man who had not yet become X, which necessitated someone to water the garden on our fabulous roof-terrace in Barcelona. H obliged us by moving in to our apartment, welcoming us both upon our return with an abundant feast and a series of sunflower sketches that she produced while in residence.

For you see, I forgot to mention that in addition to being beautiful, fabulous and eligible, H is also incredibly talented. She paints.

H’s pictures move me beyond what words can express, and I am not just saying that because she is my friend; believe me, I have several friends who paint, and I tell most of them that I hate their ‘work’. I believe that H possesses a true imagination; she has a vision of the world that is unique to her, and she is able to convey this with great sincerity and skill.

Those sunflower sketches resulted in an exhibition in Barcelona- with a dedication to moi- but unfortunately at the time I was in New Zealand, unable to attend. Wherever one goes, one takes more than fond memories of her: I have also a little sketch that she presented me with before my departure: it is on the wall before me as I write this, delightfully accompanied by the gift that arrived in the post this morning.

Why are you hearing about all of this, gentle reader? Because I have posted my thank you note here, and she might stop for a quick visit. Besides, you might be interested in buying me- or someone less deserving than me- a little art this Christmas, in which case I highly recommend that you start by looking here.

No comments: