The lady has been through hell and back -- no kidding -- over the time we've been in contact, but has tried to stay upbeat at all times and before I made contact with my close friend, Ruth, was my support through bleak times.
As with all friendships we had good and bad times, times when we lost contact, but as some wise person said "The best friends don't always need to stay in contact."
One thing which both confuses and amuses my other friends is our habit of referring to each other as Tommy & Tuppence. This is an in-joke, we are both Agatha Christie fans and the reference is to the Beresford's in the series Partners in Crime. Our friendship has been big brother to little sister (I am several years older).
Sarah once said, "If Alan doesn't know about something, he knows how to find it." The statement is a reference to my almost infallible memory for faces and facts, and the off-beat way I can track information.
My method was shown when I had an article printed in Jazz UK, the article started because a lady asked a question about a man called Fred Smith, who was a jazz trombonist in the late 1970's.
I looked at the image of the cover of the record in the original message, and at once recognised the man to be the father in Mork & Mindy. From IMDb I was able to get a brief biog which I expanded into a full page article, the article got printed and the lady sent me an email to thank me.