‘THIS is the life,’ she told me. She was right. Life could surely not get any better than this.

We slouched back in the front seats of the car, parked up in the sun.

Me and my friend had just left Newby Bridge. I had come away with lemon sorbet; she had some sort of posh chocolate concoction. The summer was here. The birds were singing. The Lake District stretched out before us. Oh yes.

I wonder, looking back, if I would have noticed how amazing that August day was if I had not been with her.

Because if everyone in life can teach you something then she is surely the Professor of Joy. She is a disco dancing, cross country running fan of vanilla slices sold at Hazelmere Bakery at Grange-over-Sands. Her creative talents mean she’s never short of a cunning plan for framed photos and drawings, fancy dress costumes and quirky gifts. She turns a plan into action. She is also a huge fan of hot beef sandwiches.

My friend has the sort of high-octane energy that makes the people around her look like they are pyjama-clad sleepwalking pensioners that have woken up in the street and have no idea where they are or why they are here. So yes, I’m a fan. Not that she’s ever been sickly sweet. She’s usually telling me to hurry up. And when I went into hospital with a kidney infection, this March, she was the one who wrote in my card: “This is because you need to eat more meat, Perkins.” She was probably right.

And now she is moving away from the Lake District.

I might have to buy myself a roast chicken just to get over it.

If there is one thing my friend has taught me it is this – that if you learn to bounce back and be grateful for all the brilliant things you have in your life, then more good will surely come your way.