I would say that this friend probably knows more about me than any other; more even than spouses and school friends who have known me for much larger chunks of my life. She is a genuine, old fashioned type of correspondent; someone with whom to engage in witty and caring discourse. She pays close attention to detail and does not suffer fools gladly. Her correspondence is reminiscent of less hurried times, although that is deceptive. Anyone seeing her at the keyboard would be astonished at the speed with which she pours forth her highly structured thoughts, quoting liberally and amusingly from classics, science and philosophy.
She has been conducting courageous and painstaking research into Iranian jurisprudence and has a depth of knowledge of Shia Islam. I first met her in Edinburgh when she was helping me translate and interpret a food safety course into Farsi. Her meticulousness and human concern was immediately apparent.
It would be churlish in the extreme not to include examples of her letters. I am delighted that she has given me permission to do so.