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Blog 3: Tips on how to deal with house guests

House guests

My American penfriend and I have known each other for 40+ years (I know! Where did that time go?!)) and she is flying over to stay with me and Mr B. in late September – a visit that is well over-due - and having her as our house guest prompted me to think about what I can do to make her stay memorable and special – so here are mytop5ofeverything tips on how to deal with house guests:

  1. Know when they will arrive (and when they are leaving!)

  2. Get the guest room ready

  3. Get the wine rack ready!

  4. Involve family and friends

  5. Find some great places to visit

My American penfriend and I “met” via a teenage magazine – FAB208 (you could place adverts for a pen-pal, so I did and got a huge response – I don’t think the postman was impressed!) We have been writing and visiting each other for over four decades (tell me about it!) In the early days in the 1970’s, we wrote letter after letter about school and friends and boys. There were 3 transatlantic visits during the 70’s when we were teenagers and what fun we had together talking about school and friends and boys!

Then marriage and jobs and kids arrived in our lives and the flow of letters faltered and the 80’s kind of passed us by as friends. I know it’s hard to believe but this was a time before cell phones and the internet and staying in touch required hard work and effort and time, none of which we had during these years.

Visits resumed in the 90’s, when our eldest children were both pre-teenage and interested in travelling across the pond with us and they, in turn, became friends too. But again ‘life’ filled our days and we managed to keep in touch occasionally whenever we could. Then, freedom arrived and the kids started to leave home and although they had kids of their own, as grandparents we started to have time, money and space in our lives, and the advent of email changed our means of communication, together with Instagram and cell phones.

Mr B and I visited twice in the noughties and we discovered that our friendship had changed and matured (and improved) and now her visit is well overdue. I am excited to see her again and catch up on old times and make new memories, so how can I make her visit memorable and enjoyable……. mytop5of everything tips!

  1. Know when they will arrive (and when they will be leaving!)

Why is this important? You can make plans, organise provisions, book time in your diary and notify those who need to know. My house guest arrives into Heathrow on Tuesday lunchtime on a flight from Chicago. It’s a fair trek down to the airport for us, but Mr B and I can share the driving (yes, he’ll have his driver’s licence with him – see Blog 1!) and she will be leaving on Sunday October 8th.

2. Get the guest room ready

I think it is so important that your house guest feels warm and comfortable; relaxed and at home. Therefore, I recommend clean crisp sheets, a duvet with extra blankets or a pretty patchwork quilt for warmth should they need it. Also provide several pillows to choose from. Fluffy towels and toiletries as a treat. Provide the WIFI code and some wardrobe space and fresh flowers.

3. Get the wine rack ready!

We have not seen each other face to face for ten years so there will be many tales to tell with evenings at the dining table or by the log fire, talking over old times, grandkids and life. Wine is a vital ingredient – so make sure the wine rack is full

4. Involve family and friends

My American penfriend has been part of my family for a long time, so family are automatically involved and they are as excited as I am. Friends are another vital ingredient and help share the burden of being the “hostess-with-the-moistest” so invite them round for coffee or dinner, or ask them to come along when you go sightseeing.

Find some great places to visit: Americans love English history so choose attractions that are within a 90-minute drive from home, get your camera ready and enjoy being a tourist!

We have chosen:

  • One local attraction – Emma Bridgewater pottery in Staffordshire

  • One stately home – Chatsworth House in Derbyshire

  • One historic city – Oxford

So, there you have it – mytop5ofeverything to make having house guests a joy!

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