Portrait of a Friend
JULY 2014: Another trip “back home” to Newcastle for me. Arriving late there was the usual long evening with Lone Pine supping from a bottle of whisky and catching up. Next morning I was up early and into the Butterfly Cabinet cafe for their best English Breakfast in the Universe – then followed by an even better experience of hanging out for hours at The Wild Trapeze cafe down the road. If you’re visiting Newcastle, and especially if you’re new to the experience of England, get yourself over to Heaton for a morning through lunchtime and check your mind into these cafes, but also enjoy the iconic vista of closely packed red brick houses, stacked together into terraces, creating a really evocative scene: quiet and lots of space despite being very much an urban environment.
Met up with Richy at the Butterfly. Here he is – my longest friend (1977) – since the age of 6.
We can both recall each other’s mum’s from those days when they where young women and alive. It was Richy who knocked on my door in October 1989 and changed my life forever. It was the same month I decided I was going to become a writer.
This photo captures a poignant moment for me. Significant period of my life but more significantly, Richy is alive.
This time last year (2013) he was at the tail end of fighting cancer and he has beaten it. I would like to celebrate that milestone of positivity! The treatment was intense and grim. He’s done really well. His hair has grown back and it is no longer curly (phew!). And the same day this photo was taken, he had a swarm of homeless bees come sweeping down into the empty hive he has at his house and take up permanent, honey-making residence. Interesting note: his previous hive became sick when he did and then died!
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