What Happened Next? Did Bridget find her Darcy? Did Rachel get back with Ross? Did I find my bubble?

The answers to the above are: ‘Yes’, ‘Yes’ and ‘Of sorts’… By studying the flora and fauna of my local habitat (of course local and of course from a 2-metre safe-distance) I have spent my Lockdown and Fellowship bumbling about becoming more ‘British’ than ever in my indecisiveness (the fact that the ‘apply for my German-passport’ on my original ‘to-do’ list back in March 2020 never happened compounds this). The 2 metre, no hugging rule, in the brief respites between us being in ‘stay at home’ mode was tricky to navigate yet oddly welcome too. I could park my fear of appearing overly affectionate with one friend who tends to stand stock-still, if, in previous times, I forgot and greeted her with a hug. I could rest at ease being near another friend who always used to over-do it with her sloppy, pro-longed hugs or knee-squeezes. So, a clear rule for all to to follow, for me, someone who, it turns out, ‘needs rules to have more fun’ allowed some social awks to dissipate.

The fauna I enjoyed studying most when I could drag myself away from the minutiae of navel-gazing (‘Why do I need rules to feel safe?’ ‘Why do I need a bubble of friends to feel whole?’) were various neighbours that I hadn’t known were connected till I bothered to watch. Through that long summer of the first lockdown, I watched from my home-office window as one or other of them would pass, backpack-on and, I suspected, a stealthy thermos or cheese-sandwich packed within. Later that day I’d see her return, friend in-stride, and watched enviously as they’d bid farewell to each other after what seemed like a satisfying walk. I approached with caution, using red wine and salt and vinegar crisps as my lure: ‘Can I interview you around the subject of Friendship and walking around The Rame Peninsula?’.

My plan quickly ran away with itself but couldn’t keep up with the covid-cases. I had chosen my ‘bubble’ to infiltrate and secured one interview between two friends before the second lockdown and my own dose of covid-in-the-house caused the type of delay that although I got wiser to, always seemed a surprise still.

As I write this, on the first day of proper dawn till dusk sunshine we’ve had since last autumn, I’m excited that my project, dubbed The Friendship Circle, though delayed, gets to launch in this moment of hope. It will celebrate friendship, my local area and the ingenuity and perseverance needed to make a life for oneself when out on a geographical limb.

I look forward to introducing you to a Friendship Circle who met whilst setting up a pre-school for their children in the village. If you’re lucky enough to visit our forgotten corner of Cornwall you can enjoy a rambly-ramble with earphones-in whilst listening to tales of the hard times and the good as walked and talked by the women who call this abundant peninsula, and each other, home.