We have managed to catch up with a few friends in person in the last couple of days. We had to go to Kidderminster for husband Stewart’s eye appointment at the hospital on Saturday, so thought we would take the chance afterwards to drop off some Christmas presents to a couple of friends in the area (and take a flask of mulled wine along to share for good measure!).

Both friends had decked the house with festive fairy lights, if not boughs of holly, and suitably seasonal decor, and put us entirely to shame as our decs still languish in the loft, despite various pleas from me. We’ve managed a few desultory lights in the front window and on the front garden tree (well, as far as I could reach from the second step of the ladder – too wimpy to go higher!).

Deer friends!

Digression alert: I found said husband putting out the Christmas cards round the house, the other day, something he never does. I was waiting to put them in the holders I usually hang up. I was going to congratulate him on a sudden surge of festive spirit until I clocked that he was valiantly trying to cover as much space as possible so he could claim we don’t need the decorations and there’s no space anyway!

A couple of other friends we’d been trying to meet up with for a week or two asked if they could pop over briefly on Sunday. It was lovely to catch up with them over mulled wine and nibbles and ‘christen’ the new veranda, though it still seemed very strange sitting out in our coats, albeit in sunshine, with the Christmas music in the background.

It brought home to me how much we are missing the spontaneity of people just dropping by or popping in on someone. Even so, whilst the garden and driveway visits have their frustrations and limitations, it is just such a real pleasure to be with people, even if you can’t give them the hugs and hospitality you want to share.

In case we don’t say it enough, I’m saying it now, loud and long; friends matter, and we value every one of you greatly.

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