‘he waits for new knees In the same way I wait to dye my roots’
Lucy Holden, 28, has formed a remarkable friendship with David Lindley, 70.
When my mum drove me up the M5 to the University of Leeds eight years ago, I had no idea that one of the closest relationships I’d make would be with a professor of Renaissance literature who is almost three times my age. But David Lindley and I have been unlikely friends since the second year of my English degree, when he taught me Spencer, Herbert and Webster in a dusty, book-piled office.
emails have flown between us since i left Leeds five years ago, and we meet for dinner and drinks whenever he’s in London for a stint of research at the British Library. Lindley is one of the UK’S top Shakespeare scholars and edited The Tempest for the new cambridge Shakespeare series of books.
naturally, given our ages, we have a lot of differences, but that’s part of the fun. Lindley plays the organ, whereas i play Radio 6. he loathes twitter and Facebook – although he once sent me a social media post by a neighbour who had worked out you could use old carpets to prevent weeds growing on garden borders.
Since i graduated, i’ve changed jobs, flats and countries; Lindley has retired, had his first grandchild and has begun an ‘elderly grumble about ailments of one sort and another’. he waits for new knees in the same way i wait to dye my roots, having spotted my first grey hairs.
When we started having lunch together my friends at Leeds
suggested it was ‘weird’ and asked what we talked about. i shrugged: ‘everything.’ i revel in the fact that the conversation is so different, and now we each teach the other about the world, past and present. i didn’t know any of my grandparents well, and this is the sort of relationship i imagine that i might have had with them. after my friends realised there wasn’t anything untoward about the friendship, i think they were in awe. now, if we take a selfie and i post it on Facebook, everyone from our old class ‘likes’ it. i love counting Lindley as a friend.
‘We have a lot of differences, but that’s part of the fun’
Lucy and David struck up a friendship when he taught her at university