So on Saturday we had our house warming party. I say party, I use that term as loosely as it can be used. It was not so much a party, but a small collection of people that met up in a single location for some time and food.
Let me begin with some background.
Demelza has grown up in Cornwall, she went to Roehampton for university and then she moved back home. A year later we moved in together in Plymouth. I on the other hand have grown up in Horsham, Brighton and the south east of the country in general.
The majority of our friends are in and around the London area which as I can tell you from doing a long distance relationship from Cornwall to Brighton is no small distance from Plymouth. This is a journey that requires the better part of the day whichever method of transport you take. Trains can take upwards of 5 hours door to door and the car is not much better. Plymouth to Horsham on a fairly clear day takes about 4 and a half hours.
With this in mind we began to organise our house warming party. We knew not everyone would come and to that end we probably invited a fair few more than we felt we could cope with on the basis that a reasonable number would not be able to make it. We spoke at great length to some on how to get down here and we encouraged people to book their tickets early.
We seemed to have a fair number coming or saying they would come. Some people let us know early on that it would not be possible to go for various perfectly good reasons. This was fair and to be expected.
As we approached the day in question more and more people seemed to be dropping out. Some for, again, perfectly good reasons. Others it seemed had looked at the travel and decided it was quite far to go and they had not noticed quite how far or how long it was going to take. I think some cited costs which of course could have been reduced by booking early.
By the time we got to the day in question and phoned more people to check they were still coming we heard a few more reasons why people were not coming. Again, some of them good.
At this point we had whittled our numbers down to the glorious total of 4. Had some people not already been on their way we would have cancelled there and then, but it was too late.
While no one person had anything but fairly honourable intentions, the net result of so many people pulling out was we both felt rather upset and let down. Admittedly my upset surfaced mainly as anger to start with, but that soon turned to a fairly sombre thought of does anyone actually care.
It seems that most people took the view with regards to their travel that it was just something that could just be sorted out nearer the time. However as stated earlier, this is not a small journey and requires planning and thought. The longer you leaving booking the more expensive it becomes and if you fail to plan it it can easily drag on a lot longer than you first thought (as Thomas found out). As people realised their travel was going to be more complex that first believed, they dropped out, relying on others to take their place. Unfortunately when everyone relies on everyone else and no one does it you end up with the workforce of mangers, a well structured façade with no support behind it. Or in our case a table full of food and no-one to eat it.
Thankfully we don’t choose our friends as people we don’t get on with or don’t like so while this whole episode has been fairly upsetting, I do not for a second believe it to be an act of malice or spite, more an act of carelessness, thoughtlessness, a bit of bad luck and a reliance on others.
This all being said, for the few that did turn up I think a nice time was had. It was not quite the atmosphere we had aimed at but it was a nice gathering nonetheless.
One final question I feel myself compelled to answer (like a child of the national curriculum), given the chance would we do it again? There is a part of me that feels never again. The part of me that put a fair bit of work in for not that much gain. But there is another side of me that must accept that these things happen and to stop because of one bad experience is an even greater tragedy than the event itself. With that in mind, we probably will do this again, but not right now.