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My return to normality has been interrupted by a visit from an old friend from New Zealand. She is going to be in Ireland for the next five weeks and I have the honor of providing shelter and a bed for the first ten days.

Finding a place for anyone to stay for any length of time in my compact little home is a bit of a challenge. It’s not so much the bed, as I do have a spare one in my miniscule study, it’s more the ‘stuff’ that people accumulate around themselves. I am not talking about internal baggage (which we all have in trunk loads) but the things we literally drag around with us. You know those big bulky handbags filled with our everyday necessities, and those tiny little bags we put into our big bags to hold our pens, make-up and other bits and bobs we really need.

I myself have a whole collection of bags in all shapes and sizes and I really don’t mind other people following the trend by surrounding themselves with pieces of their lives. The only problem is when their lives collide with mine.

Whenever this happens their bits and bobs seem to mate with mine and create a whole new array of items that never can find a home. And when your space is a limited as mine that can cause a problem and my home turns into an assault course forcing me to hop, skip, jump and swivel through my day.

Of course I should be thankful for this extra exercise but mostly I find myself tiding things away and randomly standing in the middle of the room holding items I am sure I have never seen before and wondering what it could possibly be and where it should live.

But I suppose that is what relationships are all about, finding room for other people and their stuff in our lives. Moving things around so they can slot in and occupy the same space and enjoy the time spent together. So if that means my home has to burst a little from the seams and my walk around the house goes a little ‘Monty Python’ for a while that is a sacrifice I am willing to make for an old friend.