Last weekend I had a visit from my oldest friend. We've known each other since Reception Class, back in the days of frilly knee socks and pigtails, almost 27 years ago. She lives about two hours away, although our friendship has survived greater distances than this over the years. At one point it spanned almost the entire length of the country - all the way from Portsmouth to Bangor.
As children, we spent long summers building dens and cleaning out muddy troughs at the back of her house, filming dance routines on our parents' camcorders and writing out the lyrics to our favourite songs. My mum was a childminder for her and her brother, and her mum once scoured the pavement looking for my missing front teeth. As teenagers, we talked late into the night about boyfriends and university plans, mapping out our hopes and dreams for the future. We've travelled together, sipping cocktails to a backdrop of Cretan sunsets, and requesting Canesten though the art of mime in an Italian chemist. She was there when I bought my wedding dress, and there when I walked down the aisle. Ours is a friendship with deeply entwined roots.
It is these roots that hold us together when distance keeps us apart. It is these roots that allow us to pick up where we left off, to laugh within the first sixty seconds of being together; to feel nurtured after spending time in each other's company.
Last weekend was no different. As soon as she walked through the door, we talked like someone had just released the pause button, carrying on from the last time we spoke. Reuniting with her makes the interim period - no matter how long - disappear.
We went out that night and danced in the only way friends know how - like you're the only ones in the room, embracing each other, and belting out songs into the other's beaming face. We did this until 3 o'clock, until the lights came on and they sent us home.
We took a long walk the next day to nowhere in particular, talking, talking and talking some more, and occasionally falling into a companionable silence, which felt as equally satisfying. We spoke about relationships, our parents, our friends and our jobs, covering all topics from the significant to the inane. We drank tea and ate cake and soaked up the arrival of Spring. We sat on her brother's rooftop at sunset, sipping passionfruit cider as the city grew encased in shadow.
Before we said goodbye on Saturday evening, we made more plans, and when I hugged her - tightly - and thanked her for a brilliant 24 hours, I felt completely rebalanced for having been in her presence, replete with her wise words and whimsical spirit.
You've got to hold on to friends like this. The old ones are the best.