So from time to time we go on holiday to Wales - often to the same place. Why to the same place, given that I'm a restless sort? Simply because the owners of the B&B and cottages are some of the nicest people I have ever met. We first stayed there 4 years ago when I was going through a stressful time at work. In a few days the holiday turned my mood around. One time, I overheard them talking about us. Usually you don't want that to happen, don't want to hear what other people say about you - but these people seemed to like us as much as we liked them. They gave me the best example I've ever seen of how family life should be - just happy and unworried.
They spoke so calmly - the hostess had a lovely smile and I must admit I was very charmed by her - but the husband too is an unusually happy, positive soul, and wonderful company. We talked about the walks round the area and took their dog on her favourite walk. She charged up and down steep, icy hills and we feared we might lose our host's dog for them but she always reappeared, ready for more mad dashes up and down the hills..
We didn't stay with them this time - but we were passing, so paid this family a visit. Their kindness goes far beyond that of someone trying to keep their guests on-side. Children from around the town came to visit and play on the trampoline. S and I drove back through the road with the most beautiful views I know - alone for miles and miles but for a few sheep and some deserted-looking former pubs - with a man in fatigues wondering between them (the area is used by the military). One of Norah Jones' lovelier albums added to the inner calm I felt. The sun shone over that landscape. My self-worth - whatever that really means - had returned, though I hadn't realised its absence.
It was a wonderful day. Every time I see our friends, I'm reminded how things should be, and how I ought to live. Too much of my life my day-to-day moments seem to have been plagued with nagging worry and discontent - I can still feel that old tension in my shoulders now. But happiness seems such an obvious thing in those Welsh hills. I guess I need that fresh air to breathe. I need to always remember that place inside me.