"I have made friends in all the usual ways, school, work and via hobbies, and most unusually my dear friend and neighbour Lyndsay, whom I met at 'lower limb replacement exercise class'. That's not as weird as it sounds. It's for people who've had hip or knee replacements and it's hard not to bond with people when you're exercising with walking sticks!
But my fifties seemed a bit late to gain a penfriend, it being a pursuit of childhood, but that's exactly what happened to Bea and me via the Home Base Holidays website. We began in the usual way by trying to arrange an exchange but, unable to find a mutually agreeable time, we continued to correspond anyway, enjoying swapping news about all sorts of things, friends, family, travel, outings, with a shared love of history, museums and reading.
Last year we finally met. While Bea and Kas were on another exchange in London, they came to Tooting for lunch at our house and we had a happy day chatting. There and then we vowed to make a firm date for a swap and planned a whole year ahead. Which is why, a few evenings ago, Paul and I were sitting on one of Kas and Bea's beautiful flower filled terraces here in Switzerland (in photo) enjoying the meal they had prepared for us knowing that they were in our garden eating the one we'd left for them.
And I haven't told Bea this yet, but I reckon that the Swiss are the friendliest people I've ever met." - Sandra Newnham, London
Note: It is delightful to hear when Home Base Holidays members become good friends as Sandra and Bea have done, finding many common interests and meeting each other before swapping homes this summer. They also have something else in common - a love of writing, especially about their home swapping trips! See Bea's report on her home swap to Sandra's home, 'Touting Tooting' and tips from a wonderful summer home swap in London.