THE BEST MATES LIST
After receiving a friend request on Facebook, Robin Scott evaluates what makes a true friend
How many real mates can you count on? You know the sort – true and trusted pals who never blab on social media about what you’ve been getting up to, or planning on doing? Always there to help when you need a lift, without being asked.
A best mate won’t say a word when you leave a house of ill repute in the early hours, or knock on the pox doctor’s door a week later. Not that I’ve done either. But I’m sure you get my drift.
Is it possible to have more than a handful of real friends? I doubt it. Or maybe I’m the odd one out.
This morning I clicked a Facebook “friend” request only to discover the lady asking is already pals with 435 other folk out there. Which is one helluva Christmas shopping list however you want to look at it! But, friends?
Had the gal not been blonde with long legs and big possibilities I would’ve hit the “decline” button then and there. Instead, I’m now 436th in line.
Maybe it’s no coincidence, but three of five folk I count as my staunchest buddies shoot, and all fish too. Best of all, bad weather aside, they’ll be here in a day or two for a walked-up shoot to celebrate my (herumpteenth) birthday.
Maybe we will catch up with a few pheasants, or even a duck or two. But it won’t matter if we don’t, it’s always the craic and banter that counts when we get together.
Steve loves shooting birds heading my way as much as I relish knocking down his. Which is why he pockets a few 36g 4s whenever we shoot, and I always carry 42g 3s…
Rob is still on the best mates list even though he came within a whisker of knocking my block off one moonlight flight in Lincolnshire. We both managed a right and left from a skein of greylags; mine fell harmlessly behind, but the second of his clipped my left lug hole and shoulder as it whooshed passed and crashed into the ditch I was crouched in. Doesn’t bear thinking about. Three or four inches to the right and I wouldn’t be friends today with that new found blonde with the long legs and notable assets.
Which leaves Martin, a guy who saved the life of my springer, Cassie, on a duck flight-pond 10 or more years ago.
The little dog got tangled up in submerged alder tree while picking a pricked mallard one freezing cold January night. Before I’d even started to unzip my jacket Martin, God bless him, dived straight in and plunged under the water’s surface. He was down for a terrifying eternity, but eventually freed my bedraggled dog – still holding the duck!
Foolhardy? Yes. But his unthinking act of madness earned my undying respect and gratitude.
A long time later we talked briefly over a pint in our local about the swim and Martin simply said: “I did it because I loved that dog more than I do you.”
Which is exactly what you’d expect a proper mate to say. Isn’t it?
Three out of the five folk Robin counts as his staunchest buddies shoot, coincidence?