The Daily Telegraph - Saturday

Our friends have torpedoed our holiday tradition at the last minute

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QWe are beginning to consider what might happen this summer as the country returns to some semblance of normality. We hoped to revive a tradition of booking a West Country farmhouse big enough for ourselves and another family; old friends who live far from us and whose company we have all missed (our kids are similar ages) over the past year.

They, however, have demurred, leaving us holding the baby in the form of a whopping deposit. They said they want to be with their parents this year, and of course no one could argue with that. However our spies (ie children), suggest they are in fact heading off the the south of France, virus permitting.

We feel decidedly miffed at this, even if after the past year there’s no accounting for people’s needs. We shall probably be able to find another family to go away with. But I don’t know whether we should let our friends know how let down we feel. Should we?

Bernard, via email

Dear Bernard

AWell as crimes against friendship go, this is a pretty low-level infraction. This other couple have simply changed their minds about your joint holiday plans and as you say, after the past year there’s no accounting for that. Would it have made much difference if they’d been honest and said after 12 months stuck in Blighty they fancied a

change of air, food and language? I suspect you’d still have felt a bit miffed.

It is rather rude of them not to have offered to split the cost of the deposit if you can’t find a family to take their place, but some people are just funny about money and anyway, it’s a moot point, isn’t it? You say you think you should be able to rustle up replacemen­ts, so you won’t be out of pocket.

I sense that you are taking their change of heart rather too personally. It’s not a judgement on you or your friendship: they just fancy getting out of Dodge, that’s all. They probably should have been franker about their reasons for cancelling but most friendship­s are laced with the occasional little white lie of convenienc­e, aren’t they?

My advice is to take the long view. It’s not worth risking your otherwise happy relationsh­ip by putting your friends on

the spot and confrontin­g them with their mild perfidy. Give a Gallic shrug and let it go. In any case, you may have the last rire. The way things are going, France could be on our Government’s “Red” zone well into the summer and beyond, and if you’ve found another family to join you on holiday here, your friends will be wishing they’d stuck to plan A.

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