I never tell people what to do. I loathe unsolicited advice with the heat of a thousand suns. (I find it both intrusive and patronising.) But here is what you should do -

Start every day with a telephone call to your best friend. 

It solves everything. It doesn’t matter how jangly you feel or how many worries are pressing on your head or how much unwelcome and unavoidable stuff you have to wade through before the day is done. You will find yourself at 8.27am laughing so much that you can’t breathe.

‘That’s our belly laugh!’ I shouted down the telephone. 

‘There it is,’ she stuttered back.

We’d agreed a few weeks before that as long as we could have a belly laugh then nothing would finish us off. She makes me laugh in that irresistible giggly way so that I can’t form sentences for quite a long time and just keep saying, ‘Oh, oh,’ down the telephone and then when I think I’ve got my wits back I am tickled again and I start laughing again and there’s another two minutes when I don’t have access to words.

Not that many people in life make you laugh like that. 

And the other thing that is so lovely is that we know each other inside out and upside down so nothing needs to be explained, and we are the holders of each other’s histories, so we can fill in the gaps on some distant, disastrous trip from the early nineties as we try to work out who was there and why I was lying in my bed the whole time reading Midnight’s Children and why there was no light in the downstairs room. ‘Oh, yes,’ she cried at one point, ‘and Such-and-Such went into the shop and said “Avez-vous un Daily Mail?”’ 

That was the thing that set us off laughing. 

She holds my life in her hands and I hold hers. We’ve been to all the weddings and christenings and funerals together. Especially the funerals. It was to her house I went after we buried my dad. I went with her to her mother’s house after that funeral and helped her clear up the things left behind. We’ve done funeral flowers together, from my friend’s lovely garden, for a beautiful girl who died stupidly young. They were the saddest flowers I had ever arranged and I was glad always that we did them. 

Funnily enough, she’s flying off to a funeral now. She was ringing on her way to the airport. Someone we know died in Italy, very suddenly, and it's incredibly sad, and that’s where she is going. So she needed the laughter. She’s got two days of sadness to come and she needed the laughter.

And now I feel as if someone has come along and given me the very best version of myself and that anything is possible and that love can conquer everything. Imagine if one could start every day like that. Imagine that. 

Anyway, even if it can’t be every day before breakfast, ring your best friend. Because we all need the laughter.