FRIENDSHIP SPARKED IN LOCKDOWN BRINGS UNEXPECTED REWARDS
If laughter is the best medicine, Palmerston North Village residents Barbara Fryer and Joyce Tait will live long and healthy lives.
Though they’ve only known each other for a little over a year, the pair have forged a remarkable bond founded on mutual interests, shared passions – and a whole lot of laughs.
Joyce is wonderful. We have good talks about things and we laugh our heads off,” says Barbara.
Relative newcomers to village life (Barbara moved in in 2019, and Joyce just before the first lockdown last year), the two women live five doors down from each other and have become the thickest of friends.
What began as a casual kerbside chat has evolved into daily coffees, regular outings and a bunch of shared activities – from knitter natter club to aqua aerobics classes. And to toast the end of each week, the women join in the regular Happy Hour before heading home to meet two of their neighbours for fish and chips and a game of euchre.
During lockdown I’d sit out on my porch every day. Joyce kept walking past and after the second or third time we struck up a conversation. I had two chairs so I started putting one out on the footpath for Joyce. I’d sit up on my porch and we’d chat for hours.”
It wasn’t long before they discovered that not only did they have mutual friends, but Barbara’s son-in-law was one of Joyce’s distant relatives! Now the pair are virtually inseparable.
I have problems with my vision and Joyce drives. After lockdown she took me for a drive out to Foxton Beach. She drives me round everywhere, takes me to the supermarket and on lots of lovely outings. We’ve both lost our husbands. It’s been so lovely having someone to talk to and do stuff with. Joyce has ended up becoming my closest friend.”
The unexpected new friendship has been equally life-changing for Joyce.
Barbara and I hit it off right from the start. I didn’t know anyone when I moved in here, she just really stood out,” says Joyce.
Barbara was my first friend in the village and we’re nearly always together. If I go somewhere without her people say, ‘Where’s Barbara?’, and if she goes out without me, people ask ‘Where’s Joyce?’!
She and I have a great old time – we have a lovely life here.”