If you can be yourself with them, they're the keeper

There is a general sentiment in life that, when the going gets tough, you find out who your real friends are.

Saturday, 9th July 2016, 6:01 am
Michael Gove

I’m not sure that’s entirely true, as a ‘friend’ will be there through all times, whereas those who crawl out during a drama are not always to be trusted.

Part of this depends on your definition of ‘friend’. We tend to have circles of friends.

The outer circle is that of acquaintance, the inner circle denotes deeper friendship and the centre is comprised of our dearest, real friends.

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They are the ones whom you wholly trust.

We all have bickerings from time to time, but if you ever meet someone who is willing to be disloyal about those who take centre court in their friendship circle, then you know you’re on to a losing thing.

I remember once speaking to someone who told me, within 48 hours of finding out themselves, that their oldest friend was having an affair.

I heard the intimate details, the snide comments and then immediately decided that I would never share anything beyond the superficial with them myself.

After all, this was not simply a minor moan.

This was the imparting of life-wrecking material, highly confidential and not gossip fodder.

The most basic fact of human life is that none of us is perfect, we all have moments of ‘aargh’ with one another, we say things we regret and things that are not kind.

There’s simply no cure for this, but if someone is at the very centre of our friendship circle, then hopefully they generate true loyalty within us.

The crux of both platonic and romantic love, at the absolute core of our friendship circle, can probably be defined by the ability to feel totally at ease with that person or those people.

To truly see, and be seen. To have nothing to hide, no front to put on, and no pretence, or airs, or graces.

If there is someone in your life with whom you are able to be your utter and honest self, then hold on tight.

Out of all the rest, they’re the keeper.


This year’s GCSE results are still more than a month away.

Many parents, not to mention employers, may not be aware that from next summer, students will no longer be awarded an A*-G grade.

Instead, their grade will come in the form of a number, with 9 as the highest and 1 as the lowest.

The government has not told teachers exactly what these grades will constitute – a 9, for example, is around the equivalent of an A**, something that doesn’t even exist at the moment, and is probably as easy to achieve as a glimpse of Brigadoon.

We can thank Michael Gove for this. Worryingly indicative of the kind of chaos that we’ve thankfully avoided by him losing the race to become our next prime minister.


My family went to Manor Infant School in Portsmouth’s summer fair last weekend.

We had a fantastic day in the sunshine, the wind and the rain.

It was a typical British summer’s day with a plethora of weather fronts.

But the thing that stood out the most was that rather than not coming at all, or scarpering at the first rain drop, the families stayed put and enjoyed the day.

The sense of true Pompey community was there for all to see.

It was in the camaraderie of the families, the huge effort from the staff and the fact that a new nursery is being built so that, from September, children can attend the same school from aged two to seven.

Wonderful to see.