Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Diolch Ffrindiau

This means thank you friends in Welsh. I have a lot to be thankful for. Every night when Spiderman and I bless our food we say:

We give thanks O Lord

For food when many walk in hunger,

For faith when many walk in fear,

For friends when many walk alone,

We give thanks to you O God and

May all that have life be delivered from suffering.


It is not really the way that Quakers tend to pray. Normally they hold a silent thought before a meal, but since we have been in Wales we have felt the need to do more--to acknowledge our blessings verbally.

We were blessed with a visit from friends this past weekend. I guess you could also say it was a visit from Friends as Friends (Of Truth) is another word for Quakers. When we arrived in Cymru six months ago, I had a bit of hard time adjusting. I was homesick and lonely and unemployed. I missed my church family and friends back in England. While things are considerably better now--I am still unemployed but I am not so homesick or lonely as I once was--it was with great excitement that some of our Quaker friends discussed the possibility of coming to Wales for a weekend.

It seemed like such a difficult thing to arrange--one of those ideas that sound good in theory but then when you look into the logistics of it couldn’t really be done. I tried not to get my hopes up and seem casual in our email exchanges but I know my heart was just wanting it so badly. I really miss these people--they were a huge part of my life both spiritual and social and I wanted to show them around our new town and new life in Cymru.

Well reader, it happened. They came.

Friday night Rachel and Lorna N arrived after five and half hours in the car. I couldn’t believe they were willing to drive that long just to see us. To be fair, the actual drive was more like four and half hours with two half an hour pit stops but still. That is a *long* way to come for the sake of friendship.

But they came anyway.

We went out for a delicious Chinese meal at Sai Wu, the restaurant owned by our friend Soong. They came back for the quick tour of our flat and for a slice of date cake and then back to their hotel to bed.

Saturday morning the weather was *perfect* --the daffodils were blooming, the sky was blue and the sun was shining and I was in my short red spring coat as opposed to my long pink winter coat. Hoorah!!! Spiderman gave us the day together because he knew I needed a visit more than he did. He got his visit later that night over dinner and conversation that lasted until nearly midnight.

We three ladies pottered around the many shops that Carmarthen has to offer. There are at least eight charity shops and several interesting independent retro crafty type places so we ambled about from around 10am to about 4pm (stopping in the middle for a cup of tea and sandwiches). We all had a nap and then they came over for dinner and we ate mushroom barley soup  and date cake and we talked and laughed and told stories and discussed politics and laughed some more. It was a truly uplifting experience.

We didn’t actually subject them to our blessing as that feels like a personal religious choice and we didn’t want to make them feel uncomfortable but I did make them listen to a seasonal poem as we are counting our way towards the spring equinox on March the 20th. I have even decorated my seasonal tree in it’s spring attire.

The next day we met then at Café Nero for a cuppa before they got on the road. We were having such an interesting discussion about the American South (Last year Lorna took a trip to Nashville as well as further down south) that I think we didn’t want it to end. But they said goodbye and drove home and we walked home in the drizzle (I was back wearing my long pink winter coat again).

It was, without a doubt, one of the best weekends I’ve had. It reminds you that if you are truly friends then distance and time do not matter. You can pick up right where you left off. Just seeing them was gift enough but did I mention they also brought pressies?????

Seriously. Boxes and bags of goodies from Quaker Friends back in Hitchin. Knowing our finances are a wee bit on the tight side (we are, after all, Mr and Mrs Church Mouse) Friends sent expensive food treats like olive oil, cashew nuts, coconut milk and tamarind paste (can you say curry????) plus delicious but totally out of our price range maple syrup. Luxury!  They sent posh snacks like apricot chia bars, chocolate covered raspberries, dried apricots, mixed nuts and two (count ’em two) kinds of hand cooked crisps. Yeah…we’ve actually eaten most of the snack stuff already. Plus two varieties of herbal tea! 

There were also three (count ‘em three) jars of homemade jellies and jams. Yes please!!!!

There were fabric remnants from their fabric stashes that had long lain unused and were looking for someone to think of a use for them. Me! Pick me! I can use them! 

There were card making crafty bits like fancy paper and little wooden doodads which filled me with so many ideas I could hardly wait to make something.
There were also several craft kits and projects and game ideas --plastic fillable Easter eggs anyone??? Oh the fun we will have!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

There were thoughtful cards from several of our friends back in England that I will treasure because of their kind messages.

 It would have been a perfect weekend with just their company but I gotta say…the pressies were really nice! Food and crafts and books! Oh, I forgot the  books!!

 Lorna found some a trilogy of interesting books all about Merlin the magician (who was born in a cave outside Carmarthen dontcha know!) in a charity shop and bought them for me. How kind.

It truly let me know how blessed we are--with good food, good friends and a shared faith that draws us together.

Diolch o galon! Heartfelt thanks!




  1. Hi - just wanted to say glad you had a good time with your friends, enjoy reading your blog! Regards Carole

  2. Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful. Your grandmom Susie and your mom Becky both have had friendships like that that transcended time and years. It is truly a blessing. Perfect visit!

  3. Wonderful friends! And I read the Mary Stewart books years ago! You are in for a treat!!!