I met a lady the other day outside her home as I wandered up the hill. We smiled at one another and said, “Hello”. The conversation had begun.
“I’m just closing the door – angry teenage boy inside.” She explained, as she pulled gently on the door handle.
“Oh, I know what that’s like.” I added in solidarity, “I had three boys under the age of four.”
“Oh, I have just one of each, a boy and a girl”. She sounded relieved and then asked, “Do you live in Corris?”
“No, I’m renting a cottage a few doors down. I was here last summer at Stiwdio Maelor and fell in love with the place, so have brought my husband with me to share it with him.”
“Oh, I have an artist from Stiwdio Maelor house sitting for me next month as I’m off to hike in Switzerland on Sunday for a few weeks. She was going to come earlier but can’t.”
“I’m here for a couple more weeks – I can water your plants for you.”
“Thanks, but the girl two doors down is taking care of that and the lady at number 9 is feeding the cat”.
“I love that about this place- everyone helps one another out.”
“Yes. It happens in a small community like this, where everybody knows everybody.” She added matter-of-factly.
Two women, who only two minutes earlier were strangers, were enjoying chatting comfortably together in the middle of the road. Any invisible or imagined barriers did not exist.
She shared that her children, now teenagers, both needed their own room so she had built a shed in her garden across the road for her own bedroom.
“Come and have a look! It’s really cozy”. She was right. It was compact with a bed and a wood burning furnace. A cheery red door with a hinged window half way up, a corrugated roof, a porch with pots of purple and white cosmos to welcome her. “It’s all I need”.
There was something appealing about saying goodnight to teenagers in one building and then scooting across the road in jammies and slippers to a private cocoon. But wait – what about the Winters? Brrr.
I explained to her that we usually zip around Britain in the summer visiting family and friends but this year we’re inviting them to join us in Corris.
“If you have any overflow of guests, feel free to use my house while I’m away.” She guided me toward the front door. “Let me show you around.” She added, without any hesitation.
And so I was ushered through the door, introduced to the two teenagers and the cat, shown how to ensure we had hot water, where the towels are kept and what outdoor chair not to sit on when listening to the rush of the stream at the back of the house.
“Gosh! Thank you!” I was delighted to encounter such a kindly, open and generous spirit. Yet, this lady is not so different from most of the folk I met in Corris, where they have figured out what really matters – caring for and being cared for one another.
“I won’t bother giving you the key. I haven’t locked my doors in eight years.”
” No need” she added. “Hardly anyone does round here.”
“Well, thank you, again. I may well take you up on it — “. I wanted to add her name, but realized we hadn’t formally introduced ourselves.
“I’m Julie, by the way”.
“Hello. Nice to meet you, Julie. I’m Meg.”
“Nice to meet you, too, Meg”.