At the weekend I received a call from an old friend in distress at the behaviour of her partner. I gave her a shoulder to cry on and she cheered up and the following morning when I phoned her to check, she was in her usual good spirits. I should like to have given her some concrete help or advice, but the problem is an intractable one and I am certainly not wise enough to solve it. When I was younger and more opinionated, I should no doubt have dived in.
My friend is a valiant woman, whom you would want beside you in a crisis. I’ve known her for more than 50 years. These days the golden girls of my youth have become elderly matrons in their sixties, but they are still in there batting. I think I love and admire them more now than I did when they were fresh and beautiful
It was something of these sentiments that motivated me to write my last novel, The English Lady Murderers’ Society. It’s a point of view I didn’t anticipate when I was younger; indeed it didn’t occur to me that older people thought very much of each other at all, still less that their feelings would be strong and lively. As it is I find it an unexpected blessing that I have so many female friends whom I love.