If I win the lottery I’m going to buy a village. Yep, as well as a smart new campervan, an amazing off-road scooter, a house big enough for ten dogs… I’m going to purchase a whole village. Apparently for twenty million I could get a splattering of homes, an old forge and (most importantly) a pub. Then I’m going to give all all my nearest and dearest a house each. How wonderful would it be to live close to everyone I love!
I was on the phone to my friend the other night, she’s been having a tough time. I really wanted to give her a cuddle… but she’s an hour away. A day later, it was a Whatsapp chat with a different mate also going through a tricky patch. I longed for cuppas and cakes and a heart-to-heart… but she’s at the opposite side of the country. It’s happened umpteen times before, but twice in the last two days, I’ve yearned for my closest to be closer.When I was very little, everyone and everything important to me was within a mile radius of my front door. In just a few minutes I could skip to Mr Mould’s primary school, the newsagent sweet counter, or the ‘Reccee’. And all my friends in the entire world lived in that one village. Each was only a stones throw away, so we could “call for each other” whenever we wanted. With age, I made many more mates at college and university and work and clubs. But as my circle of friends grew bigger, the distance from their houses to mine also grew. Many years down the line, due to new jobs and new adventures, I am now miles away from them all! From everyone I love being across the road… to everyone I love being dotted around the UK (and even in the odd other country). These friends may still be my closest in heart, but they’re no longer close in distance. 🙂
Strangely, it is only in recent years that I’ve really yearned for my faraway friends to live across the way. I think it’s because life has suddenly got hard. Being in your thirties is difficult. We drank through our teenage years, adventured through our twenties… and now in our thirties, serious life has caught up with us. Babies and partners and jobs and parents and houses and health. In the last few years, a lot of my mates have gone (or are going) through difficult times… and as I live so far away, I can’t do a lot to help. No lasagne deliveries when the newborn won’t sleep, no babysitting duties when the parents need a catnap, and no much-needed cuddles. And I’m missing the good times too: engagements and births and promotions are announced over the phone, and all the babies firsts are witnessed through videos. Our day-to-day friendships are lived through Whatsapp and phone calls, with meet ups together every couple of months. (A wonderful advantage of living apart… visiting them is a mini holiday!). It works… BUT I’d still love to have ALL of my friends down the street again. 🙂
Although living miles from friends is tricky for everyone, it is slightly harder as I have Pulmonary Hypertension. As I’m unable to drive for longer than fifteen mins, my wonderful hubby has to chauffeur me around whenever I want to see my friends. And I’m inevitably exhausted and ill after every meet up as both the car journeys and full days of chatting (to justify the mileage 😉 ) use up my limited and precious energy. (It’s ALWAYS worth it though 🙂 ). It’s also a lot trickier on my friends, as at times of illness I can’t leave the house, and can only cope with visitors for a short period. Thankfully I have a handful of besties who journey over even when I can only be with them for mere minutes (wonderful Sal once caught the train from Belguim to see me for just an hour, before getting the train straight back afterwards. I love her!). Having PH and having faraway friends is a tricky combination.
Unfortunately with no lottery win yet, my village full of friends is still only a dream. Therefore the last two weekends were spent travelling to catch up with some of my nearest and dearest. Girlie weekends away! Twenty four hours of living down the corridor from one another again! 🙂 First was a meet up with my beautiful university friends in an ‘unusual’ Air BnB abode in Maidenhead, followed by a catch up with my fabulous childhood friends at Chez Kate in Market Harborough. Pub gardens and BBQs and brunches in the sun. Catch-ups over tea and wine and non-alcoholic gin (it’s a real thing!). So much delicious food! Cuddles with laughing Leo (3 months old), scooter rides with active Alex (10 months old), and protecting Lottie from the cats! And best of all, continuous chatting and gossiping and catching up. Amazingly as my body is still on a wonderful PH high, I didn’t need to escape to rest once, and stayed awake until bed for all. After a month of worry myself, and after some tricky times for my friends too, it was lovely to be around some of those I love the most.
I’ve just been and bought my weekly lottery ticket. I wonder if my city dwelling friends will cope living in a village without a Starbucks! 😉