#2: The Visitors
It’s time to refocus from agonising over alcohol free red wine. Get back to looking at the view of the surrounding nature and scenery from the top garden of our house. In past times, over decades in years, we have had weekend or week/weeks long visits of family and very close friends. Not recently, but a ‘couple of years plus’ ago now, there were four people visiting and to be welcomed into the house. Pre-Covid. All four? All exceptionally close. My brother and wife and also a childhood friend and his wife. With my wife and myself there was a total of six. Six people who purposefully put together an intentional escape plan, here in Wales, from the familiarity of life’s daily struggles. A get together with chat, laugh, eat, drink and be merry scenario intentions. This alternative decision purposefully avoids the reality of what we were/are all subject to with our individual everyday, past and current life’s experiences of work, health and relationship impacts. We put together a situation where we create a weekend of gentle experience and in doing so, create lightweight diversionary tactics. As said…..Each of us going through these problematic, stress related work, family and health related issues which are continual burdens of an immense impact on well being. Creating a small contribution of re-balancing back to well being by planning to actively seek positive diversion from negative life changing situations was paramount.
So……..Needed? Another weekend of escapism. Done many times before and all fondly remembered. Intentionally and democratically planned. Emotions and deep discussion held back? Oh Yes! Why? Because to dig deeper would provoke inner turmoil to each of us. 6 people with inherent problems that, if we were to open up and share, would provide something of a situation of massive analysis need. We avoid the absolute enormity of needful talk. You sometimes cannot share experiences of such profound impact. We get together on Friday night. And say goodbye on Sunday. Friday? We’ve all come from a week and more, much more, of conundrum and being battered in various ways. I’ve had a long Thursday day shift ending a week of the stuff nurses go through. Hours of this and that. ‘This and that’ nurse wise is not to treat the day with wipe away disregard. It’s deep, confidential and involves the worrisome thoughts of people in a mix of hope, positivity, negativity and jeopardy. The others have been through weeks, months of similar stressful impacts too. Not lightweight either. Problems to really rock ‘each of the individual 6 of us’ boats. But ‘back burner’ is the art of intention to adopt.
So. We are now having a break of a mini holiday. Well. Not an actual holiday, but a break from intensity. Suddenly, we have a different intensity that shouts out ‘We’re not at work, so ’huge hurrah’, Like Enid Blyton’s Famous Five. But we are Six. So I’ll be the extra guy with the words. The Enid Blyton equivalent added ’one more’. No waking up over the next two mornings and thinking, we are in our own familiar routines again! A weekend of escapist hoped for’s and expectations. Here in Wales is the place to witness a small 72 hours of cathartic delivery. Planned activity through negotiations? A train trip. Meals and chit chat sitting around our table and in our small, but friendly old comfy and historically familiar front room. A fire pit outside to be lit. Sit out late and look at stars. A front room open fire with log basket that may be lit, but isn’t because it’s warm outside for a change. A few guitars in tune and waiting to be played by the three of us guys. Songs of importance to show, tunes you want to share. Meals that are prepared with considerations. Drinks, a mix of alcohol and soft choice, to be imbibed with resulting ‘they’ll hit the spots’. Late nights, early mornings and a million and one thoughts inside your mind that can’t and won’t be truly discussed.
Why? Because if you did it would ruin the need for this planned essential lighter approach. So you create a positive atmosphere. And in doing so you come through the 72 hours with a smile and stronger outlook. Yes, we talk briefly of the background problems. But intentionally lightly and quickly change the negativity. We need to look Mindfully at this opportunity for the here and now. Not dwell on what was, what next week will be back to is, may be or, in actuality, what probably will be. But we truly understand each other’s ‘What lies beneath’. Now is not the time to discuss. Now is the time to laugh at the stupid things we’ve done and carry on doing or saying. ‘I didn’t know he’d died until afterwards’. ‘We’ll give you 3*** because you have no en suite and refused to cook poached eggs and offered unhealthy fried’. A curry which was hotter and spicier than intended to the one who wanted cooler and milder. Some cayenne added mistaken for mild chilli! But a dish of quickly made mint and yoghurt cooling raita saving the day. Sort of.
Bigger outlandish conversation, totally bonkers statements, occurrences witnessed……they’ll be remembered for forever and a day. The woman chatting to us in a pub garden in Barmouth. Takes a bite of her sandwich and her false teeth go flying. The suspicious bag and laptop on the train, unaccompanied next to us and the dread of a possible threat that my friend, who is a large city dweller, gets wary of. The lovely blokes, three seats ahead, who owned said bag, and who didn’t get the alarm my friend felt. What must unaccompanied bags do to the nervous disposition of ever vigilant city inhabitants? Here in Wales an innocence still exists. Tens to twenties of little scenarios to remember, reflect and laugh about. ‘Trouble with charity shop shirts? They don’t have the right sizes labelled in them. Never fit!’ Nothing to do with expanding stomach girth has it? ‘I can’t stand any type of pasta. Joyce makes me spaghetti bolognese instead’. This weekend’s little gems. Added to the loads of previous gems from older visits here.
I went and sat outside my house. The extremely important 4 had, by then, gone home. Number 5, my wife, tired out, fell asleep on the sofa. Number 6, me, sat outside alone contemplating happenings of life and what has been. Evening’s dusky late fast diminishing light and stars hidden behind unseen, but imagined, cloud formation. I had lit a pipe of fresh honey scented ‘Honeyrose’ aromatic herbal tobacco. Drunk from a red, beautiful ‘flick the rim and it sings’ glass which would have been filled to the rim with lovely earthy red wine.
I look at the surrounding view and images. And reflect upon the weekend spent. Intentional and successful planned change from the normality of all our daily working life stresses. All of us back to normal life tomorrow and a little brighter for having spent the last two and a bit days in good spirits. A reflection of life as seen through parallel scenarios. Like the film ‘Mirror Mask’. We lived a weekend where there was intention to restore the balance by living in the Dreamlands between the Land of Shadows and the City of Light. We found, for a brief moment, our Mirror Mask.
What wins this time?
Change or Familiarity?