in this life when things change; not always for the better, not always for the worse, not always through choice, but they change, and that change is something that has to be embraced, and life has to move on in a different direction.
For some friends, their lives changed in the not too distant past, and oddly enough as a result of their changes, I have caught up with other old friends I'd not seen for years, while at the same time finding I am distanced from others that I was seeing more. This is life and it's how it is right now. As a result of this change though, I just got to spend a really enjoyable weekend reconnecting with these old friends, doing what I enjoy doing best: camping. Normally I would feel guilty at having such a great time, because of the heartache someone else had to suffer, but things have moved on, and I think (I'm not 100% certain - about 85%) that the person who suffered is finally coming out the other side.
A dinner out a few weeks ago with said friends, produced an add-on invite to join them all on their planned camping trip. Not being able to take my own tent as the place was booked, it was decided I would bundle in and share with a couple of others - I'm not entirely sure that was such a blessing with the snoring that was going on from the person in the sleeping bit next to mine (I know he might read this so won't name him.. hahaha) and yes I am also aware that I snore too so I'm not going to go on about it too much; in fact it appeared that as he snored so I woke up, and as I nodded off and fell back asleep so he would wake up. On the odd occasion we were awake at the same time for a split second - I know this because the tent was quiet :)
The friend I'd lost contact with (as such) - who will always be my friend no matter what others throw at us and who even though I never saw him as much, I knew he is always there for me (as I am for him) - was there with his wife and he 2 gorgeous daughters, who are possibly the best behaved children I've come across. For 3 and 5 years old I never heard them complain once, even after we walked them 3.5 miles yesterday; something so rare these days. They were also happy to play by themselves and weren't constantly on at people to entertain them... a real rarity.
The weekend started for them all on Friday - one of them having to come back Friday evening; I picked him up Saturday morning and we had to pop to the supermarket. On a Saturday morning? It was actually really quiet and we were in and out in record time. The drive down to the campsite was also really good - most unusual on a normal day but for a bank holiday weekend, I was mightily amazed. As we got there, my travel companions number 2 son, who was already there from the previous day text to ask where we were; at that point we were sat at the gate's, waiting to get on the site because we got in the wrong queue and had to wait longer than normal :)
The day was spent chatting, laughing, catching up. My friends Mum and Dad came down for a bbq dinner with us too which was lovely - bless them, they asked my own Mum if she'd like to come down as well which I thought really kind of them. They bought some really tasty swiss roll cake too which I should not have eaten (for the waist line) but that I could have eaten much more of :) There were many bubbles blown with the kids, and a fair amount of alcohol consumed by a couple of adults - myself included, although apparently I was impressive as I never appeared to be drunk; I didn't feel it either until I got into bed (my blow up mattress with a sleeping bag slung on top) that night. I never made it to the inside of the sleeping bag though as I was trying not to disturb my travel companion in the room next to me, and so I just flopped down on top and stayed there until I woke at 5 yesterday morning. The others all went to bed about 11 on Saturday but myself and my oldest friend stayed up chatting; it was like when we were younger and had been to the pub together. On the way home we'd always sit on a bench, wall or in a field and chat the hours away; didn't realise how much I missed him, or being part of a family, until this weekend. That's what made it special; these people aren't my family by blood, but they are my family by choice, and to spend some time with them in great surroundings, relaxing and enjoying each others company was wonderful.
A walk to the local village yesterday is all we did (the grammar of those few words at the beginning of this paragraph sound awful) - stopping for lunch on the way - before we headed to a little river for the kids (that's including us big kids) to do a spot of paddling and fishing. I'm not sure at which point in my life I stopped being able to walk on stones (I'd run up and down beaches and the alley at the back of my house which is pure gravel without a second thought as a child) but stepping into that river (aside from the cold) was bloody painful so I didn't stay in there long; I could have stayed there longer if I'd had the foresight to take along some suitable under water footwear :)
When we got back to camp there wasn't a lively one among us (the walk, food, heat etc wore us out) and at one point I'm amazed we didn't all nod off, but dinner sorted that and then one of the younglings suggested a game of cards; we ended up playing a game I used to love - we played it a bit wrong to begin with as none of us could remember how to play (a google search at 3 this morning finally answered all the game questions) but that too was lovely to sit and play cards, abusing each other in the fun way families should abuse when playing games - nobody taking any of it seriously (although I did win the first 3 games.. hahahaha. :) ) I now need to find more people to teach who I see more often to play it with me :)
I do find it sad that other things (not such nice things) had to happen to someone I care a lot about for me to have the great weekend I've just had, but as I said at the beginning, sometimes thing change for the better (they worked out better for me but for that to happen it had to be bad for him for a while). I guess it's the roundabout of life; it just keeps moving and you either hang on in there and enjoy the ride when you can, or you fly off and have to find a way back on to it. I'm hanging on for now, but am well aware anything can happen at any time and I could easily be thrown off again in a flash. That's why if something is offered and I want to take up the offer I will do; if someone else doesn't like that I've taken the path that's right for me, then I'm afraid that's for them to deal with. I've spent my life trying to please others and worrying about their thoughts or feelings; life is now all about me, and I am loving every second of it. I know all too soon how quickly and easily it can end; it's for living and if nothing else, this weekend I've learned that when you take the bull by the horns, when you do think just of yourself and nobody else, you really can let your hair down and enjoy yourself.
If any of you that have spent the weekend with me are reading this, I thank you.