‘The years be­tween us melt away’

There are 40 years be­tween Pauline Tilt and Cle­men­tine Turner-pow­ell, but they have so much in com­mon

Good Housekeeping (UK) - - Real Lives -

Pauline says...

I’ve known Cle­men­tine since she was a child. Liv­ing in the same vil­lage, I’ve been friends with her par­ents for years, and when she was very lit­tle, my el­dest daugh­ter used to babysit for her. As she grew older, our re­la­tion­ship was warm and neigh­bourly, but fairly dis­tant.

Then, one evening in 2000 af­ter my hus­band John died of can­cer, she called round. I had huge sup­port from my fam­ily, but was touched by her kind­ness. She was home from univer­sity for the hol­i­days and, know­ing I was on my own, had taken the time to think about me. The hours flew by as one glass of wine turned into three, and my house was filled with laugh­ter again.

Now our Pros­ecco evenings have be­come some­thing of a tra­di­tion. Cle­men­tine lives in Lon­don, but when­ever she’s vis­it­ing her par­ents, she’ll come over. The years be­tween us seem to melt away as we chat. She’s a teacher and I was a mag­is­trate in the youth court, so we both have a lot of opin­ions about ed­u­ca­tion.

Though Cle­men­tine is closer in age to my daugh­ters than to me, the friend­ship is def­i­nitely ours. Be­cause she isn’t my daugh­ter, it makes for a more equal and hon­est dy­namic. I feel like we’re on the same level.

When you’re re­tired, it’s easy to slip into a fa­mil­iar rou­tine. I lead a busy life, but there can be the ten­dency to fo­cus on the mun­dane. Hav­ing a friend in their 20s keeps my mind fresh and ag­ile. She brings lively de­bate, bright­ness and fun.

Cle­men­tine says...

I re­ally value the time I spend with Pauline. When it comes to so­cial­is­ing with peo­ple my own age, it’s hard to get your voice heard; it’s as if ev­ery­one is com­pet­ing to have the big­gest prob­lem or the most com­plex wor­ries. But with Pauline there’s no sense of com­pe­ti­tion. She’s elo­quent, un­der­stand­ing and in­cred­i­bly wise. Our con­ver­sa­tions be­gin with ev­ery­day chat, but we’ll soon move on to deeper top­ics and our shared philoso­phies on life.

I think it’s healthy to en­gage with dif­fer­ent gen­er­a­tions, to chal­lenge your­self and look be­yond your usual cir­cle. We can of­fer each other new ideas and al­ter­na­tive views. In that sense, the age gap has strength­ened our bond. The only sign that she is older is that I still refer to her as Mrs Tilt!

Any­thing I tell my other friends, I’d also share with her, and her ad­vice on my ca­reer, re­la­tion­ships and am­bi­tions is al­ways help­ful. I re­spect the way she lis­tens at­ten­tively be­fore re­spond­ing. Her words are care­fully cho­sen, so you can al­ways be sure she means them. Our friend­ship has proved to me that age re­ally is just a num­ber. She’s be­come a true friend.

‘We give each other new ideas’ cle­men­tine

Friend­ship with fizz: ‘We’re on the same level,’ say Cle­men­tine, left, and Pauline

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