I had an absolutely stunning weekend away over the bank holiday, visiting two people whom I had not met previously except on the internet. We all suscribe to an email list known as ‘The Steamie’, and when some of us began wanting to meet each other, I took the plunge and decided to accept their open invitation to visit.
Stephen and Sheila met my train and drove me to their home in Pershore. Before the 20-minute drive was over, Sheila and I were exchanging intimacies. Soon we were all three comfortably at ease, and it seemed impossible that we had only just met. And it should be said that these two were celebrating their first anniversary of being together that weekend, but did not mind sharing that with me.
On the Saturday they took me to the Malvern Hills, a familiar spot from my childhood,
and after driving nearly to the top, they gently nudged and encouraged me the last few hundred yards, so that I could once again see the views on both sides of the range, Herefordshire and Worcestershire.
After a meal at The Kettle Sings on Jubilee Drive, at which Sheila and I made pigs of ourselves with meringues, we moved on to the village of Alfrick where I lived as a teenager from 1939 to1956. Here they took pictures of me in front of the house which was my home, and of the church where I was married and where two of my sons were christened, and in other well-remembered spots. [Picture taken by Stephen Bell]
On the Sunday we visited a National Trust property called Snowshill Manor, near Broadway. The sun shone gloriously, and finding myself yet again in the countryside of my memories, and in such congenial company, I became radiant as well! Here too Steve showed me how to use my new digital camera properly, and I shall be putting up some of my first shots on my photo blog, which you can find in my Links.
[Picture taken by Sheila Joynes]
Sheila is a musician who plays in an orchestra and teaches, and in the evenings she entertained us with performances on the cello, the harp and the piano. She also played and sang two beautiful and moving songs which she has written herself, and which brought tears to my eyes.
Monday morning was computer time. They had both taken masses of photographs, and while Sheila organised them on the computer ready for uploading to their fotoblogs - (see Sheila’s here and Steve’s here) - Steve, who is a Marketing & New Media Manager, gave me a lot of help with the technicalities of managing my blog. (You will also find their websites in my links.)
And then reluctantly away to get a train home. Smiles and more tears at having to part, and I left with invitations to come again and a feeling of having received multiple blessings. Over the three days we talked, sang, told good and bad jokes, and rolled about with laughter. We ate delicious meals both at home and away, including a plumb crumble made from Sheila’s own plums. I was cossetted, entertained and generally treated like visiting royalty, and like visiting royalty I let them wait on me hand and foot. But I think they will forgive me. We should all have such friends!
This is Burnie the Hot Bear who sat by my bed in Pershore and watched over me. It is one of the first half dozen pictures taken with my new digital camera!!!
[I'm sorry the links are not in place yet, but I still have to master the technique. Any day now I hope!]