I've just spent a happy few days with a mixture of delightful people of different ages from Sweden, Spain, India and the UK. I won't embarrass them with names and places. Happily they all spoke English, which was just as well as my French and German are rusty, and my Spanish, Swedish and Hindi are non existent.
Since this was Creative Week, and it rained almost non-stop, the Swedes took to the woods with axes while the rest of us knitted strange things, fiddled with bits of paper and paint and made holes in tin cans to provide hanging lights for a forthcoming wedding. Some of the wooden and stone creations in the woods will last a lifetime, especially the Gruffalo House, but in truth the weather held us back from being really adventurous, except in the shed where experiments with a burning log chimney were carried out. Did they work? Briefly. Actually, no.
Arranging discarded advertising material on a hillside and photographing it from above proved a little ambitious, as the tiny drone with the camera crashed, to the dismay of its owner, but in truth it was the conversations with members of the group that I shall remember.
What did we talk about? The healing power of shrines in India, Brexit (of course), the difference between Catalan and Spanish, mental health, the benefits of art therapy for people with Parkinson's Disease, living in Dublin, percussion (drumming) as a career, family customs and religious ceremonies, food, music, films - everything, in fact.
Since I live in a small, white, conservative market town, opportunities for interesting or enlightening conversations with other cultures and age groups seldom come my way, and the week reminded me of how much I miss 'difference' in other people; for stimulation, different perspectives and fresh ideas. Plus the food, the music and the laughter. And the sense of belonging to the rest of the human race.