I have recently had some very good friends to stay. I have known them for about twenty five years, but as we grow in age the term ‘really old friends’ starts to take on a new meaning so I won’t use it!

They have just moved back from Australia after eight years, where they found the heat too much to bear and the call of ageing relatives in need became too strong to ignore. Returning to the UK was not an easy decision to make as their eldest son decided to stay and finish his education and they have no jobs to return to. Eight years ago I sobbed as I said goodbye to them, thinking that I may never see them again, and having them back here is a joy for me so I decided to invite them to stay for Easter. I had heard that they were living in a caravan while looking for employment and so I was pleased to be able to offer them the chance to be in different rooms and spread out a little. Two adults, a teenager and two dogs living in one room must be a challenge!

In all the time that I have known them they have been incredibly kind and generous.  They have helped me with little DIY projects, fixed things for me so that my husband at the time wouldn’t find out the latest thing I had broken, given me time out and a free holiday home when they lived in Cornwall, a weekend retreat when in Fareham, hugs and support when my husband died… the list goes on. In return I have kept them up late while I have drunkenly put the world to rights, and that is about it to be frank. In fact when I think about it, I have so many wonderful friends who love and help me and whose favours I can’t return either though lack of ability or lack of opportunity that I am wondering why they bother!

So, this Easter I felt I could repay some  kindnesses and offer my home as a refuge. I could see they were enjoying the break, unlimited Wifi, real beds and access to the washing machine so I persuaded them to stay on a little longer and in the end they house sat for me while I was away on a course which worked out well for all of us.

And then they did it again…

I came home to power washed decking, a clean and tidy garage, a cellar that I am not ashamed of, new light fittings in my bedrooms and bathrooms and the most amazing thing of all… a newly decorated bathroom complete with  re-sanded floor boards and the mistakes of my terrible past efforts all rectified. All the bedding they had used was washed and the house had been hoovered through.

So here is my thank you to ALL my friends, not just George and Karen. Thank you all for feeding me, entertaining me, looking after me and loving me and not expecting anything in return. In this selfish world in which we live, where would we be without our friends?

Feeling the love…. Cheers!


Penny x