The Oxford English Dictionary defines fate as ‘ (n) The development of events outside a person’s control, regarded as predetermined by a supernatural power’ and in its verb form ‘Be destined to happen, turn out, or act in a particular way’. This weekend fate took its natural course and produced something classic.
Some of you faithful readers (curtsies, thank you kindly) may remember my post last month about signing up to swap parcels with someone somewhere in the world in the Perfect Strangers Project https://cystaract.wordpress.com/2015/06/12/be-a-swapper-not-a-mood-swinger/
Everyone who signed up was notified about their swap partner a couple of weeks ago and the date set for parcels to be sent. At that stage you receive a couple of lines that your partner has written about themselves to let you peek into a little window of their lives. It’s not much to go on, but enough to get you thinking. This is what I wrote on mine:
My swap partner shared her words with me and we emailed to touch base more personally, followed each other on Instagram, I found and read her great blog and then got started on the practical process of assembling and gifting things to each other, simply in the frame of human kindness and connection (what else is there in this world?) My finished parcel headed for the South West.
This weekend was a fun one. Friends arrived from Glastonbury on Saturday to stay. They are a lovely couple who we’ve known for many years and are those golden type of loyal friends who are always there to check in on you, ask about stuff, offer help, make you laugh and say it how it is. We don’t get together nearly often enough and so there’s always masses of news to catch up on when we do. They’ve lived with serious health problems long enough to know that energy levels are key and staying aware of how you’re feeling and what you’re doing to support that is crucial. Many wise words and pieces of advice were shared and some stern looks with particular advice meant ‘I’m serious about this’- you know the type, we used to see librarians do it.
‘What’s that?’ I was asked
‘It’s my parcel from a Perfect Stranger’ I replied
Eyes meet all around the kitchen, clearly indicating I’ve lost it and so I explained the concept and we all simply look at the parcel in awe and wonder imagining what’s inside.
‘We’ll open it properly when we have real time’ I added as my bossy childhood state returned.
Saturday evening was spent in the company of Andy Fairweather Low. For those of you way too young and way too cool to have a clue who he is, he’s a musician/singer songwriter who has been around forever. He’s famous and yet not well known at the same time. He’s been singing independently and playing his guitar with some of the greats- Van Morrison, Eric Clapton, Joe Cocker, Bill Wyman and so on so he’s pedigree. I must admit that the only song of his that I could recall was Wide Eyed and Legless and I share it here for your listening ears. You’ll be humming the chorus before you know it.
It was an excellent if not sweltering few hours. The band were superb, everyone was a real character and as we were in a small venue that only seats about 150 people it felt really personal. I say sweltering because yet again, we’re back to the issue of extreme body heat. This time however it wasn’t simply the effects of being ‘grandmother-ready’ or Tamoxifen side effects trialling it was because it was bloody hot. Everyone in the theatre was hot and feeling stifled due to an aged building and probably total disregard for any legal bumf that suggests that public places of entertainment must be within a certain temperature band. Of course no such bumf may exist but it should. How no one fainted I don’t know.
As we headed back after the intermission (in the air conditioned bar…………………………..Hmmmmmm) my friend asked one of the staff what the plans were for making the theatre more comfortable i.e. potentially fitting something, anything that moved the air about and she gave her a paper programme to make into a fan………….
So Sunday morning and time was created for the great reveal.
First layer revealed this, a beautiful scarf covering some other goodies. The smell of the parcel was gorgeous.
Once opened each internal parcel was individually wrapped and many had little notes written on them. Just look at the care that my swap partner took to select, comment on, set the scene for and wrap for me.
The final parcel was this one and it revealed further gorgeousness including a diary.
Specifically a short term diary and here’s where fate stepped in and produced what had to be the statement of the weekend. My friend Steve (not the hubby one) took one look at it and said in a strong West Country accent ‘Ere! Does she know about you? <nodding towards the boobage area> That’s not really a suitable thing to send is it? I mean a short term diary, how many pages has it got, short term!!!……………………..’ and with that his voice faded away and we all cracked up laughing. I know what he was thinking, should you really buy someone with cancer a diary and short term at that? Of course!! And in fact at this stage I don’t even know if my swap partner is aware of where I currently find myself in my life but whatever the answer is to that, the answer remains a resounding yes. She did exactly the right thing and we’re still laughing at Steve’s comment.
The moral of this post really, should it need one, is that kindness needs to prevail and so should laughter. The perfect strangers project is a social experiment trying to make linkage, helping people connect and do something for someone else. I’m grateful to my swap partner for taking part and using her creative energy and kindness to collate my gifts and notes which are so breathtakingly lovely it warms my heart. I’m also grateful to our visitors for just being here and sharing their experiences and advice and for their well-intended outburst on my behalf. Perfection indeed.
On the theme of kindness and giving, if you just watch one video today make it this one. I dare you not to be moved by it and then do something similar.