Wednesday, 10 December 2014

An unexpected visit...

The call came midweek, out of the blue.

An old friend, who had long since departed for brighter lights and bigger cities, was briefly back in the neighbourhood.  En route to her parents' place, she wondered if she could stop by quickly and say hello.  She was about twenty minutes' away.

My initial reaction of surprised delight was almost immediately replaced by panic.  I glanced around our - ahem - comfortable family home.  The detritus of our busy lives was evident for all to see: Rucksacks dropped haphazardly in the front hall, odd pieces of Lego littering the living areas and the smell of our recent evening meal lingering in the air.

Help.  This is the friend whose chic city home features glass and chrome, polished to perfection.  The kitchen boasts all the latest high-tech appliances and genuinely gleams with satisfaction. On the couple of occasions I have visited, I've felt as though I've been transported to a boutique hotel with only the two of us as residents.  Fleetingly, I wondered if I should ring her back with an excuse to cancel.

Thankfully, I have learned that there is quite a lot one can achieve in 20 minutes (Jillian Michaels eat your heart out).  I know my children's habits and my home's hotspots pretty well, so I focused on the essentials:  Replace hand towel in downstairs loo/wipe toothpaste marks from sink/lob hallway clutter into cupboard/throw kitchen windows open/light scented candles/whizz around with hoover/change self out of faded trackie bottoms + fleece.

By the time she arrived, I was flushed but smiling.  I managed to produce some unbroken biscuits to accompany our tea and we sat down to catch up on two years' worth of news.

Even when people's lives and physical appearances seem polished and perfect, that doesn't mean they don't face struggles and challenges like the rest of us.  It turns out that my friend was at a bit of a career crossroads.  She was eager for advice - but most of all she just needed someone to hear her out.

And so she talked. And I listened.  Through sheer strength of will, I managed not to be overly distracted by the inexplicable green smudge that had appeared at an eight-year-old's height on the living room wall, nor by the layer of dust that rested smugly on the arm of the sofa.  (Think that 20-minute run around was going to make the place a palace? Think again.)

Having unburdened herself - and proving once again that our friendship could be picked up effortlessly  - it was time for my friend to depart with a hug.  

I was so pleased she had come.  And it seems she was too.

Just half an hour later, I received this text:  "Thanks so much for the chat - it meant the world to me."

And to think I might have missed it for the sake of an untidy house....

At this time of year, we all tend to have increasing numbers of visitors to our homes.  It's worth remembering that real friends come to spend time with us.  Not to inspect the state of our skirting boards.

Does your home suffer from CHAOS (can't have anyone over syndrome)? Leave a comment and let me know.

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  1. Lol clare this is exactly how i felt yesterday AFTER u left having realised our buggy was covered in toilet roll...did u notice?! I cringed after u was our visiting elf's antics from the night b4 lol!! 😊

    1. Sorry for delayed response - I honestly didn't even notice Kerry! (Visiting elves are great fun anyway!) C x

  2. know me...hoose is always chaos and very rarely

    1. Life's too short to dust ;-) And I love visiting you - so you don't get rid of me that easily! C x