River deep, Mountain high

A little over an hour from where we live, is the Lake District – Cumbria. It’s a gorgeous pocket of the country that we’ve really enjoyed exploring whilst we have been here. With the right weather, it is chocolate-box beautiful – steep sided glacial hills squeeze deep water lakes between them; ubiquitous stone walls lead the windy road from one sweet village to the next. It’s really rather special.
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So when Jason, one of our very dearest pals from New Zealand, said that he and his parents from Atlanta, Georgia, would be visiting the UK, it seemed only appropriate that we shared this corner of the country with them. The best for our best. We booked a 16th century cottage, planned a menu filled to the brim with all things delicious, and mapped out a hill walk up Helvellyn.

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Three wonder filled days.

You know that cliched saying, “Friends are the family we choose for ourselves,”  well, Jason is one of those. He’s part of our family, a best friend to both of us. He’s been alongside us from our very beginning, a best man at our wedding, and then right through the very thick of it, with us, with Albie.

I will always remember the terror filled phone call that we made to Jason when Albie’s recovery from his heart operation went sour. Well, actually, that’s not true. I don’t remember a thing at all of that conversation, except for Jason asking if he should come, and us saying yes, he should.

We needed few shoulders besides our own, but his was one of them.

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And Jason was beside us in Auckland, boom, that very afternoon – dropping everything to support us. Those long days together in that awful valley of darkness, they forged our friendship as solid and as lifelong as friendships can possibly get. I’m not sure this makes much sense, but I really hope that there is never a need to be as good a friend to Jase as he was for us through that time.  We all walked away from that Intensive Care Unit knowing much more about life than perhaps we really wanted to.

All of this to say, our friendship runs deep.

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And is it just me, or do sandwiches taste at least twice as amazing after a really good hill climb?

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Walking and talking in the Lakeland hills, with him and his fantastic parents? All kinds of very real, very tangible, wonderful.

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Happy, happy days.

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