Now safely back home, after a rather tedious journey back to Milton Keynes - the M25 being particularly slow - that took about half as long again as it should have. Sarah phoned soon after I had left Katy's, and I stopped at a service area on the A3 to call her back, and agreed to stop at hers for a bite of tea when I was back in town. But it really was just a bite, and looked a bit "nouveau cuisine" with just a few bits of chicken and a couple of pieces of broccoli, but it was really all I could eat having had a very filling - and amazingly good value - Chinese set lunch with Katy in Farnham. Early nights for everyone, with a busy day ahead for them tomorrow, and I'll be off to bed myself pretty soon I suspect. No Monday Morning Meeting tomorrow, though - let me be thankful for such occasional small mercies - but I still need sleep...
As for the rest of the weekend, well it went very pleasantly indeed. I had a completely trouble-free journey down - unlike the one back - so was there in very good time. But our intention to go to a church barbecue for tea turned out to be unsuccessful, with it all being gobbled up by the time we arrived, a mere twenty minutes after it had started! Thankfully Katy had a back-up plan, so we shared a pizza and familiar accompaniments before heading round to her parents' house where I was to stay the night. As I had expected, meeting Katy's parents was nothing to have got at all worried about, and we all had a nice relaxed evening over a bottle of wine I'd brought. Before too long though, it was time for Katy to head home, and me to head for bed via doing a couple of bits of her parents' 2000-piece jigsaw just crying out for help.
My night's sleep in the spare room wasn't quite as settled as it could have been; I shall remember to take my sleeping mask if I stay there again, since it wasn't quite as dark as I had initially thought, and I had a couple of panics as a result. But I still felt reasonably raring to go by the time I needed to get up, and after a bite of breakfast - quite probably home-baked bread - I agreed to go for a brisk stroll round the block with Katy's dad Rob which definitely finished waking me up! I was a little apprehensive about that, half expecting a "now then, young man" type chat, but I should have known better than that really, and we ended up talking mainly about my work. Katy's mum had left early to play keyboard at church, so it was Katy's job to pick Rob and me up, arriving a well-timed couple of minutes after we'd got back from our walk!
Church in the morning was fine, and not really what I was expecting, to be honest! Katy's church is a Pioneer church, and I had my preconceptions about what it would be like, especially given that they have their own premises and so on. Illogical reasoning I know, but that's just the way it goes sometimes! But anyway, the service was really good, and allowed plenty of opportunity for God to move and for people to be ministered to, without feeling pushed for time or overrunning seriously. It was also good that I had been to the barbecue the evening before, no matter how briefly, because it meant not everyone was a new face, though I can't remember more than a few of the names, I'm afraid to say. I don't forget faces though, so it will be better next time I'm sure. But anyway, having had a coffee and a natter, we hit town for that Chinese lunch!
Thoroughly sated with copious quantities of chicken satay, prawn toast, spicy pork ribs, seaweed, crispy aromatic duck, sweet and sour pork, beef in black bean sauce, chilli chicken, egg rice, ice cream and coffee - all for a piffling twenty quid between the two of us - we felt a walk in the park was justified. Not quite what I was expecting, compared with say Campbell Park here in Milton Keynes, and it was quite bracing out, with no sign of the promised sunshine for the afternoon, but it was good to get out and work off at least a little of that lunch. I'm not sure I would have managed even those odd scraps of chicken and broccoli at Sarah's later otherwise! Finally, to Katy's friends Simon and Becki's house for a short while as we had hoped, who it was good to meet, and then it was time to say our bye-byes for the day and for me to hit the road.
So there you go... As when Katy visited a fortnight ago, it was lovely to be able to take things gently, to do a comfortable amount of things and to meet a manageable number of people without feeling dragged from pillar to post. And then, at the end of it, to be able to part company at a reasonable time of day without feeling that you've eaten into quality time that could have been spent together. Not, of course, to say that by five or six o'clock we're fed up with each other's company, but by then we can feel we've had a pleasantly fulfilled weekend without having pushed ourselves beyond the limit of what's sensible. Of course, then I blew it all with a fairly insane evening round at Sarah's, but some things simply cannot be anticipated, and in their case it will be the last chance I get to see them for a few days. Anyway, to bed now, swiftly!