A Migratory Bird*

We've all been happy and excited at our house for the last few days, because our friend Jo is visiting.

Jo lives in Scotland, but she makes a (usually) annual journey to the Antipodes, staying with friends she met while backpacking in Australia and New Zealand. Way back in the late 80s I shared a tiny house with Elizabeth, Jo and Alyson; a year or so later, I did my own big European backpacking trek and stayed (probably for way too long!) with Jo and Al in Edinburgh. Those times are a blur of bicycles jostling in the narrow hallway, beers in the backyard, secondhand frocks and Doc Martens, chocolate pudding and silly hats.

It never feels like a year between visits; we always pick up just where we left off, though the children are taller, and there might be a new room on the house. And Jo has her own news to report: developments at work, romance, family. In a way, the endless cups of tea and catching up is like an annual review - what's been achieved, what's planned, how does the land lie? The subjects of Michael Apted's 7 Up documentaries have made a similar observation, that the director's regular visits have forced them to reflect on the direction of their life journeys in ways that they might not have managed otherwise.

But the real reason we're happy to see Jo is just because... she's Jo, and we love her!

* I hope Jo doesn't mind me referring to her as a bird. In a strictly symbolic sense, of course.

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