There is something very special about true friendship.

I am fortunate to have found a few people in all four of my major homes – Sheffield, Tokyo, Bristol and Hereford – who show a lot of trust in me and care for me.

Tonight, I met up with a precious couple here in Sheffield who have been an enormous source of love, inspiration and laughter for both myself and *Twinkle* throughout our time here. I have missed them this past year in Japan, and tonight, as we sat by a sizzling tray of octopus balls in a near-deserted pub courtyard with my favourite track by the Japanese band HY playing in the background, I thanked my lucky stars to be counted as one of their friends.

Just being in their company calms me. Any stress I might have been feeling disappears on the night breeze. I no longer care to plan what I’m going to say, rather, I let my heart speak, and speak it does – of the intelligence of the octopus, of engagement, of penguins with built-in fridges. I love rolling in the atmosphere of warmth that is friendship. I celebrate in their partnership, they celebrate in ours. They too wake up and celebrate today, they too see a happy future ahead. They too continue to educate themselves through reading and hanging out with others with more experience in life, they too are thankful for all they have.

As I close my eyes tonight I am thinking, This life thing, there’s just no beating it. How can anyone stay mad when there’s so much beauty in this world?