How long do you have to know someone before you can call them a close friend? I don't think there's a scientific formula to work these things out.
We first met when Jenny and I moved to these parts a couple of years ago; right from the get go, he and his GLW made us feel part of the community (yes, we really do belong to a community) and from that day to this we've never looked back. Well, actually, I have. Or did. But that was just a wobble and I came out the other side with my sanity intact. But I digress. Amongst his many attributes he's a fine songwriter, real ale connoisseur, bon viveur and has an outlook on life that belongs in the mind of someone thirty years his junior. He is also, I'd like to think, a close friend.
He has a significant birthday coming up this weekend. Although we're away in Scotland for a few days, we hope to be back on Sunday to sing a few songs with him and toast his longevity* with a glass or two of something dark and hoppy.
* He'll kill me if he reads this