New friends, Old friends

We’ve had a lovely couple of days here, doing part of our visiting round. I have a long, long list of people to visit this holiday, so I’m pleased I’ve managed to see at least two of them already. I feel efficient, and I’ve had a jolly nice time.

When I use the word visit, I always think of the Victorians and Edwardians who had set times for visiting, and left visiting cards on their rounds.

I would like to say that I jaunted to Sheffield to see my friend Kate in a chaise and four yesterday.

Possibly with a plumed hat.

Scattering visiting cards as I went.

Except I didn’t.

I drove there in my filthy VW Polo with three rowdy children in tow.

I don’t really know Sheffield very well. I’ve been to the theatre there a couple of times, usually in the dead of night, and rushing in and rushing out.  I may have been lost in the one way system round the city centre once too.

It’s hardly an encyclopaedic knowledge, and apart from being aware that it was once the centre of the steel industry, and that they had a big thing for cutlery, Jarvis Cocker and strippers, I am woefully ignorant.

Kate lives in an area called Woodseats, which on the strength of yesterday’s visit, seemed rather lovely.

Albeit hilly.

Apparently, Sheffield is built on seven hills, like Rome.

Unlike Rome, it does not smell overwhelmingly of cat urine, and nobody tried to mow me down on a scooter, so, for me, it’s already winning on points.

We drove up to a beautiful country park about five minutes from Kate’s house.  We picnicked, and the children played, and got insanely excited by a mouse who kept popping out of bushes and hoovering up crumbs.

Kate and I spent the time getting to know each other in real life, rather than just in virtual life. We have actually been writing and speaking to each other for nearly two years now.  We met through a mutual love of pots, and find that we have a mutual love of books, Dita von Teese, desserts and a whole host of other things.  It was a delight to finally meet her properly after all this time.

There was a petting zoo, city farm type thing at the country park, and my children (and I) were over the moon to spend a happy hour there, poking at goats, being licked by llamas and working out if they would miss a handful of baby chicks.

My favourites though, were the pigs, who had a proper wallowing hole, and who were making full use of their licence to wallow yesterday.  They were just in ecstasy, those pigs, lying blissfully in the muddy water, snorting bubbles through their snouts and grunting with contentment.

I’d have happily swapped places with one of them, just for a moment or two.

We had a great time.

Today we have been to the pub.

Which is never a terrible thing on a sunny, summer’s afternoon.  We met up with my old school friend, Lisa, and her daughter.

The children played football and made full use of the excellent playground facilities in the beer garden, including petting Shetland ponies and goats, while we lolled about in the sunshine, drinking ice cold drinks and catching up on the  nine years since we saw each other last.

All in all, a fabulously decadent couple of days in the sun.

Lovely.

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