Laughter and love

Meeting a WordPress friend in real life was actually a weird experience.

Tilly Bud (famously known as The Laughing Housewife) and I have been in contact via WordPress for about a year. We seemed to have known each other well before she opened her house for me and my son, for 5 days.

It was very brave of her. I’m a small Chinese person with a funny accent visiting a suburb in the north, dragging along a 12-year-old boy with me, because, to be safe, you should always bring a friend when you meet an online friend. In my case, I brought my son.

The train was a few minutes late. My phone rang, and a strange voice (with a gently rising tone) asked nervously, “Janet, are you still on the train?” That was the first time we ever spoke.

My son was shocked. “What? You’d never spoken to each other before?”

In the next few posts, I’ll be writing about our time in the north, as these experience were important for me, a foreigner, now a southerner in England. I hope my travel posts won’t be too boring for some of you.

p/s: I have Tilly’s approval to write about our trip and his family, and to use our photographs.

I said Tilly Bud and I had known each other well online. We shared joy and tear before. We knew each other’s family set up. We understood each other’s taste (or no taste). However, when we were sitting down slightly nervously for our first cup of tea, the first questions to me were: “What’s your real name? How do we pronounce your Chinese name?”

After their few attempts saying my name in Chinese with a twisted mouth, we decided that from now on they should just call me ‘Janet’.

Tilly and Paul

Tilly and Paul

What is Tilly like? Tilly’s 1,000 followers are bribing me to reveal more.

I think, the most important fact you should know is that, this family is genuinely full of laughter and love. Richard Curtis should just visit this family one day for his next film.

This weekend, Tilly and Paul are celebrating their wedding anniversary. I’m privileged enough to have seen their wedding photographs projected on a big screen in their house. The couple were leading a more active life in South Africa then: parties, motorbikes, horses, trucks, beaches, and I even saw a size 6 Tilly in bikini.

Now, Paul has been “a bit poorly” and their lifestyle has changed dramatically, but,  bu, their love is ever so strong.

They held hands and kissed (in public) so often that I couldn’t stop taking these photographs.

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33 thoughts on “Laughter and love

    1. Janet Williams Post author

      Dear Sharechair,

      My time in the north with Tilly was fun and wonderful. I felt like an undercover detective and I’ve dug out more secrets about Tilly: in essence, she’s such a nice and magnificent person, not as ‘loud’ as some people might imagine.

      Reply
  1. misswhiplash

    Cor! Now this is really something ..A Chinese lady, with a brummy sort of accent , living in South west England where they talk funny anyway…what are the chooks going to make of that?
    I personally don’t think that you could possible ‘ not enjoy’ being with Tilly. Her life is one complete crazy pattern , but she is the perfect hostess and has the wit and charm and sense of humour like no other ( I was not paid to say this but a packet of Maltesers would no go amiss)

    Reply
    1. Janet Williams Post author

      Dear Patrecia,

      You’re such a great fan of Tilly! You can imagine how much laughter we had together.

      Just to clarify that Tilly was not always ‘laughing’ — because we totally exhausted her and she might have snored even more — and we can’t wait for all the nasal details soon.

      It’s so annoying that Tilly actually spoke rather softly (with a lot of please and thank you) and she was far more polite for my liking!

      Reply
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    1. Janet Williams Post author

      It was wonderful — we’re friends yet strangers, and their family life is exactly like what’s on her blog, only that it’s far more crazy in real life!

      Reply
  3. vivinfrance

    Tilly and Hub are like that. We picked them up from the airport and fell into each others’ arms and it was as though we’d always known them, even though we’d never met. They had more funny language to bother about here, too!

    Reply
    1. Janet Williams Post author

      Hi Vivin,

      Sorry for my late reply. Now I’m inundated with so many new friends via Tilly. It’s lovely.

      I read about your fun time with Tilly in A Day In Carlisle and also the post in your own blog.

      I’ve enjoyed a few sweet and unusual days with some crazy and warm people. I even had the chance to touch your beautiful patchwork quilt too. Absolutely beautiful!

      Reply
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  5. gigiwellness28

    You said it was very brave of Tilly to open her house for you and Ben, I’d say it was very brave of you, Janet. Yes, you bought Ben along, but how much can he protect you if it turned out Tilly was not really Tilly?!?!?!?!
    If I ever got such chance to meet an online friend, I’d rather to organise to meet up in a busy public venue.
    So if one day Ben told you he’s going to visit an online friend (not locally), just like what you did, will you allow him to do so?

    Reply
    1. Janet Williams Post author

      What if Tilly wasn’t Tilly? Actually she looked quite different in real life (prettier and more graceful of course).

      Of course it’s safer and sensible to meet an online friend in a busy public venue, possibly for just about an hour. But we crazy people did it for 5 days.

      For my child, I’d apply a different set of rules!

      Reply
      1. gigiwellness28

        LOL, hopefully by that time, Ben will totally forgotten about this advantage, otherwise, he would say, “Mum, that’s not fair!!!”… ha ha ha

  6. gigiwellness28

    By the way, I don’t understand why you thought Tilly & Paul held hands and kissed in public were such special things that led you couldn’t stop taking those photos.

    Reply
    1. Janet Williams Post author

      Your question made me think. I grew up in a very traditional way, in a much reserved country, and holding hands and kissing in public were not common. Actually, there was no such thing as kissing in public.

      I’m quite westernised now, but I’m still not used to exposure of closeness like these.

      When I saw Tilly and her Hub kissing goodbye, suddenly I felt a bit shocked (though I had seen people kissing hundreds of times before), and I gently told them it was quite embarrassing.

      Reply
      1. gigiwellness28

        Oh dear, what was their reaction when you told them it was quite embarrassing?

        I grew up in a semi-western background (due to our belief, my parents don’t follow most of the Chinese traditions), so hand holding in public is actually very common.

        I think kissing in public is more common in Western culture, which I didn’t grow up with; but I did start the practice (not kissing passionately) since my now hubby then boyfriend & I were engaged.

        My kids did comment that compare with most of their Asian friends’ parents, we are very Western, which sometimes make their Asian friends feel strange (they can accept Western people hold hands and kiss in public but not Asian people!!!)

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