Surrounded by evidence of my pilgrimage to replenish my underwear supplies, it didn’t seem an overly strange question to be asked “How was Marks and Spencer?”. “Umm, busy” was my slightly bemused reply. It was only the insight of another friend in this conversation that what I was actually being asked was how were the bassets?
I didn’t know which to be more bothered by. The fact that my friend couldn’t remember the names of the bassets or the fact that she would actually think I would name my dogs after Britain’s leading underwear supplier. But such is the nature of firm friendships is that you can forgive the fact that over time the details of our lives can become a little fuzzy but what remains strong is the loving connection that makes them still part of my life 20 years after we first met.
The downside of short trips back to the UK is that it’s impossible to meet up with all your long-standing friends, acquaintances and former colleagues. Shuttling across the country to snatch an hour here and there is exhausting and deeply socially unsatisfactory. This trip I plumped for staying in Hereford with my parents and London which is so readily accessible for my in-laws and my closest friends. From my perspective it worked really well although I still have some regret not making it to Oxford or North Yorkshire although these will definitely be on the cards for next time.
Facebook, Blogging and Twitter makes is possible to stay in touch on day-to-day happenings so reunions can pick up on the deep and meaningful parts of our lives. And even for those that don’t embrace social media, conversations with true friends pick up where you last left them as though the two years in between have melted away.
It’s a gigantic ask to make of friends and family to venture to New Zealand to see us but it’s always exciting to know when people are making plans to come visit. I’m hoping that my powers of persuasion that New Zealand just a short hop from Australia or Bali may bring a few more people down south but that aside I’m pleased that others are looking to be pencilled in to stay over the next couple of years.