We were invited to people's houses for dinner gatherings - always where there were more than just us and the hosts. Safety in numbers in case we were too strange? Inevitably these turn into an alcohol fuelled interrogation of our strangeness with the odd conversation centered around their love of Scotland thrown in. You get the sense that you are the entertainment for the night. I would sincerely hope that wasn't the hosts intention but it is usually the outcome. This drives you to seek your own kind and latch on to UK accents. When I am with such people I feel like they are friends with me, maybe because they also feel the need to be with other Brits, but also because they like me. There is no novelty factor so if you see them more than once it is because you get on. I had a great night at Billy Elliot with some lovely Brits - laughing at the terrible North East accents in the stage show! It was great!
There is something worse than being the entertainment for the night - and that is being their salvation! I remember one of the neighbour's children said to us when we were round having dinner 'We always have to have you round for dinner because you don't know anyone else.' Out of the mouths of babes? Now it is kind to invite someone round because they have nowhere else to go but I don't like the charitable sentiment. I would hope the reason we were there was because, after the initial interrogation and entertainment, we were liked! A recent gathering we went to felt like a gathering of lost lambs. People with nowhere else to go. 'Meet my husband - he's a shepherd rounding up the lost and lonely, like the Good LORD!'
I am going home to England tomorrow for a visit. I have been away 6 months. I guess friends will have ebbed and flowed and prolonged absence is a real test of friendship. Some will ebb away and some will strengthen as a consequence. I would like to think I have made some connections stronger through my blog. I worry that readership is tentative and if I don't write for a week or so over the holiday season when I return no one will be there to read. Ironically in this case I like to think I am some sort of entertainment for my friends! I may be a lost sheep but my real friends know there'll be no salvation for them in saving my soul and will raise a glass to that! ...and I know you will still love me tomorrow!