As those of you who follow me on facebook will know, I’ve been on holiday in the North of England for the last week. It’s been absolutely lovely, in spite of biblical weather and a flat tyre and my extremely troublesome bottom. (My coccyx has gone mad; it’s not a fart-related issue.)
The Man and I have lots of lovely friends in the northern climes and have spent years saying, Yes, Yes, We will come and stay with you and it’ll be GREAT. And then we never go and stay with them. Largely because the North is not really en route to anywhere we are likely to go. So we decided last year that it was time we stopped waiting to be driving past the North and instead to go there. With intention.
Seven nights, seven lots of friends. And – unsurprisingly – it were magic. (Said in a bad Yorkshire accent.) Strong friendships will never die, however badly neglected they might have been, but the Friendship Holiday nonetheless breathed new life into these old relationships and made them even stronger than before. We sat by log fires, walked on moors and dales, went to Aqua Baby classes and visited cathedrals. We ate roast chicken on sofas, pies in pubs and curries with furry gorillas who wouldn’t go to bed. The North was fabulous. So much history, so much wild beauty, so many funny, friendly people.
And of course I was able to do it all – walk for hours, drive for hours, chat for hours – because I am so gloriously well. When I was rotting in bed with ME I wouldn’t have made it even to the motorway without having to lie down and die for a bit. My life really does feel like a miracle these days.
I can’t speak highly enough of the Friendship Holiday. It was a beautiful patchwork quilt of hospitality, friendship, old stories, new gossip, craft beers, pregnancy announcements and cake eating. And – even though money has nothing to do with it – it cost us almost nothing. Pongo the Skoda was a triumph and nobody laughed at my weird-looking coccyx cushion. Well not to my face anyway. Hurrah! A whole week of the life I love. It’s proving incredibly easy to write this blog, you know . . .
PS – this is me looking like a twat at my beloved Birmingham University. Which is not in the North, but still got to be a part of our northern tour.