As ever, this started from nowhere. My Great-grand-daughter had returned from a geography week-end, complaining vociferously about the awful food and weather. I found she had been to a Field Studies Centre. Bingo. Organisation still existed.

I wanted to trace a student who worked for us in the 1960's, who introduced me to classical music, worked for said organisation, and emigrated to Canada in 1975. He had an unusual surname – so go to it, Mr. Google, just surname and Canada. I think I have found him, now a successful photographer. But a day of phoning Canada, changed e-mails, and a search worthy of Hercule Poirot, and needing as many grey cells.

When everybody sent Christmas cards you kept up, however briefly. Then the, often pernicious, Christmas letter started – about grand-children you never knew or doing up the Lotus.

Now, e-mail and postal costs have deprived us of lots of news, many of our oldest friends (in both senses, age and time known) have not embraced the computer. Now, I have at least 8 people, 3 of them relatives, with whom I have lost touch – makes me sad. If they are ill or bereaved I'd like to contact them.

I am getting almost belligerent e-mails 'Why have we not received your Christmas letter – so amusing'. I don't write 'I've had the most miserable, worrying year of my life' to old contacts. I use Moodscope instead!

Then, the most disturbing, was a visit from one of our daughter's. We caught up thoroughly, and she said "Are any of your old friends in good nick?" Truthfully, no, it has been a ghoulish year. But, we also have young friends, kids of old friends. I have town friends, university, research, church friends. My daughter has virtually none. She seems happy enough, a short, disastrous marriage – then a liaison which lasted too long and made her unhappy. Now she looks good, manages her life well, and her finances.

But, she's never going to be able to say "Whatever happened to old so-and-so" because she has no Christmas card list, and her friendships are recent and on Face Book. Will it be enough?

The Gardener
A Moodscope member.

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