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The Weekends Away

By Justine Lister

The easing of lockdown has bought with it the wonderfulness of getting out and about and catching up with our nearest and dearest. This half term is seeing me making the most of the time and making the most of fewer restrictions to the full. From Friday to Monday, I was in the glorious Norfolk countryside with the ‘gang’, I stopped home for twenty hours to cuddle my dogs, check my nearest and dearest in doors was alive and well, and at 10am on Tuesday morning I set off for what turned out to be a six-hour crawl on the M25 and M4 to see my girl in central Cardiff. Currently, I am sat in her student house reflecting on my week so far and musing the different environments and company that I have been privy to. 

The Girls’ Weekend Away

Company:

Four 43-year-olds and one 42 year old

Three strong alpha females who like to have some level of control

Two easy going sheep who are happy if everyone else is happy

The Student House

Company:

Six final year Uni students aged 20-22, made up of five females and one male


Ambience and Environment:

Organised, calm and structured relaxation in idyllic countryside.

Four shared two twin bedrooms, the ensuite given to the two with the weakest bladder (makes sense)

The only non-snorer had a room to herself (as is only fair)

Ambience and Environment:

Relaxed, carefree, easy going living and existing in a six bed two bathroom shared terraced house. I was in a shared room and bed with my daughter


Costs:

Everything split equally between the five of us

Costs:

Bank of Mum-that will lead to Bank of stepdad propping up Mum’s bank account.


Conflicts:

Our usual ‘cook’ was taking a long-earnt rest but liked to oversee whoever was cooking and offer helpful and meaningful tips on how things should be prepped and cooked

Someone ended up cooking a full English for five when they all suggested that it was time for breakfast 

It was tricky to ascertain if and when people should offer to help in the kitchen – if you did you were in the way and told to sit down and if you didn’t you were not helpful 

The dishwasher was witnessed being loaded and then re-arranged three times by three different people before it was put on

We are getting on a bit; some of us have hearing problems and need to crank up the volume on the Alexa and TV – this was not to everyone’s hearing comfort 

Two of us are naturally cold, three of us naturally hot. It was the hottest weekend of the year so far with one member getting sunburnt, even so the heating was put on to make the place cosy and there was even a suggestion that the log burner be put on

There was the odd eye roll

Conflicts:

As above – sharing a room and a bed with my twenty-year-old

Snoring (from both parties, I’m sure)

Parking somewhere reasonably close without incurring a fine

Being told that I was laughing too loudly at 8.30am

Telling my daughter that she should not get another pet hamster

Asking for a glass of water and being presented with a flask – as no clean glasses were present


Food and Drink:

Fromage, artisan breads, real butter, charcuterie meats, fresh fruits, olives, crackers, breadsticks, homemade brownies, chocolate, biscuits, full Sunday roast, wine, prosecco, gin, porn star martinis, tea, cafetiere coffee, diet coke

Food and Drink:

Tea, Lucozade, frosted flakes, takeaway pizza, leftover pizza, wine, beer, cocktail pitchers, tapas, Wetherspoons food and drink deals (say no more) Tesco sandwich meal deals, homemade nachos


Conversations:

Channing Tatum, Keanu Reeves, the menopause, HRT, our children, our parents, our partners, life goals, parenting, childhood and teen memories, Live Aid, Bojo’s wedding, haircuts, skin care, period pants, Mooncups, sunburn, health and diets, tarmacking and specifically the cat and dog welfare issues arising from this, the blatant mice currently taking over the whole of Australia, extensions, home improvements, careers, charity, society, politics and sex.

Conversations:

Housemates’ future plans-more studying or heading to the world of work, what bins need to go out, had anyone seen ‘Billy’ (the elusive male house member), the best place to go to in Cardiff to meet potential new-in-laws for the first time, what makes someone sexually attractive, moving rooms, toxic relationships, Love Island, does the dishwasher need cleaning, the best way to cook an omelette, favourite Vape, yogurt and fruit tea flavours, the smell in the communal garden, should you say happy birthday to an ex, changing study environments, anxiety, staying motivated, getting stuck in a PVC dress, tattoos and piercings, where is the toastie machine (apparently there are five in the house), who is living where next year, mental health issues and hospital admissions, who fancies who, how sleeping with too many people limits your future options (and all of this is in the first twenty four hours only…) should I sleep with the French guy, procrastination, what if I fail my third year (wtaf?!) 


Entertainment:

Assigning famous look-a-likies to each person – thus far we have: a Honey G, an Alice from the Vicar of Dibley, Bobby Ball, Gretchen from Recess and one gang member gets away with not having a doppelganger at all.

The gang member that got sunburnt.

Taking it in turns to pick a ‘vintage’ song and watch it on YouTube (this went on for four hours and led to three housemates crying).

Talking about each gang member when they are not present (it happens but we pretend it doesn’t).

Mocking each other’s personal grooming regime – referring to one’s regions as the actual Jackson 5.

Entertainment:

Eating and drinking out, Judge Judy, Friday Night Dinner special, Friends reunion show, Friends, meeting daughter’s housemates and work colleagues, listening to their stories about my daughter, telling them stories about her, listening to the plethora of conversations from said housemates, drinks sent from my other half indoors to me and daughter to Table 51 at Cardiff Central Bar (I am now acquainted with a Godfather pitcher and two Jager bombs a piece).


Two very different kinds of trips away. Could I pick one over the other? No way! Basically, if you are with someone that you love and they love you – it matters not a dot who you are with or where you are. OK one place was cleaner, one place was more go with the flow, one place cost me more money, one place gave me a bigger more comfy bed, one place was more relaxed, one place knew me for me, one place needed me to parent…I could continue…

I have had the most amazing time with both the gang and my girl but in all honesty I cannot wait to get back to them wiley dogs and him indoors… get me on my sofa, jamas on, with his head on my shoulder, my wine glass full and a film, or crime drama on the TV and I am home.

How lucky am I… wherever I go, whoever I am with… I am safe, and loved.

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