I just celebrated my birthday by going out to dinner with a few of my friends this past weekend, and as everyone sat around the large round table in a private room at the restaurant I leaned back in my chair and just watched them all for a moment. Right then I thought to myself, Simon, you’re a fortunate guy.

I consider myself fortunate because I have a generous and diverse selection of friends whose characters add richness and flavor to my life in an immeasurable way. I draw on all of them in ways they might not fully appreciate, and maybe I don’t tell them enough that they’re all quite brilliant people and I’m privileged to know each and everyone of them.

It’s simply not possible to gather all of my friends together in the same place at the same time, but each year I invite friends here in the UK to join me for dinner, and each year a good number of them do just that.

This year twelve of my friends were able to make it and sitting there watching them all chatting at the restaurant was just a buzz for me. These guys might not cross paths under any other circumstance but this, and there they were sat around a table together and all enjoying one another’s company.

The group was made up of friends from the north and south of the country. There was one of my oldest friends from childhood, Darryl and his girlfriend Lindsey, My Mom and Dad, Joelle the adventurous ‘space cadet’, Jon the paramedic, Gavin, ‘James the laser’ and his wife Karen (with the boots), Jeffrey whom I travelled to India with, and Phil and Kerry-anne for whom this would be the last time they would be in attendance as they’ll soon be heading to New Zealand to make a new life down-under.

It was great! It’s always great, and for me it’s just magnificently rewarding to sit back and look at everyone and think to myself, these people are my friends. And if I were to be granted a birthday wish, then I’d wish for the world to be smaller and the table to be bigger for just one night so that every single one of my friends from across the world could be together.

In good company
Not a drunken party