John is the oldest friend from that era and indeed this blog is almost littered with examples of the adventures that such friendship brought in subsequent student years, for example:
Egypt 1970 and More 1970 EygptianTravels
Also Turkey by Train 1970s
And most particularly it was with John driving and old Ford Anglia car around Ireland in 1971 before embarking on our respective careers, that he stopped the car in the pouring rain to pick up two Irish hitch hiker girls with whom we traveled for the next 1000 miles or so. One of those girls later became mrs maytrees and the rest is history.
John himself married a lovely lady, Katherine, some 25 years ago. She was much younger than he and was a dynamic wife mother traveler and worker as well as being a wonderful hostess.
Last year Katherine became ill and when we last saw her dangerously ill although she remained a wonderful woman and great hostess upon our visit to their home in 2014. not so old friends
Tragically Katherine died late in 2014.
Yesterday mrs maytrees John and I took time out together to talk commiserate and yes laugh as well as almost cry, over supper at Mortlake's "The Depot" riverside bar and restaurant.
One of the points emerging from our evening together was how short life really is so how important it is to live it to the full as far as one can.
Clearly wars, pestilences, illness political strife, misfortune and poverty, affect many people indiscriminately - my own parents from the far from wealthy Whitechapel and Bethnal Green parts of East London, had to endure WWI and WWII - but living life to the full as far as one can, as they did and as Katherine clearly did is a lesson for many, certainly for me.
The following extract from a tribute made by a close friend of Katherine's after her death is relevant to the point made in the preceding paragraph:
So I ask you to remember the positives, to cherish the happy times, the fond memories that each of us has of her. I ask you to dwell on 51 full and happy years when she did more than many manage in a full life. But I ask to remember one more thing, and this came from her. She asked me to tell this to you. She lived a healthy life, her vices were innocuous. What she had could happen to any of us. But, and this is the important part, you only live once and often we forget this. I know I am as guilty of this as the next person. If the death of a vibrant 51 year old tells us only one thing, it is that we have to value each and every day, each and every member of family, our friends. All of it.
Katherine - may she R.I.P.