Some time ago we signed the boys up for a youth orchestra which takes players from France, Germany and England because this year’s meeting was in England. We knew that this involved hosting, preferably one foreign player for each English player and felt this was manageable. Some time later 6’s mum asked if we knew of a family who could host 6’s big sister for a few weeks over the summer while she improved her English ready for an internship in the UK later in the year. Of course we offered to host her ourselves – they are a lovely family and we were very happy to be able to help. This tied up our spare room (and second bathroom) but we had worked out how we could still host two extra musicians. Then the hosting list arrived and we had three. Hmmm.
The girls ended up giving up their room to three French lads, since it was the only room we could fit all three into, and sleeping on mattresses on the floor in the annexe for ten days. It started as an adventure but ended as a nuisance; I need to think of some kind of compensatory treat for them!
It felt a little like the book A Squash and a Squeeze – “take in your cow…” but we weren’t done yet. Just before the French lads arrived we had the very sad news that my aunt had died very unexpectedly. The funeral was to take place before the end of the orchestra visit, leaving us hosting my dad and my sister so that they could get to the funeral. What is more, my sister had no dog-sitter available so we needed dog spaces as well, which is when we discovered that two of the three French lads were scared of dogs. Fortunately 6’s sister J isn’t, so we ended up with my dad on the sofa-bed in the front room, my sister and her dogs in a tent in the garden and J dog-sitting while we were at the funeral.
The juggling is still going on a little, as we now have L staying with us for 6 months so he has taken over Jfish’s bed in the same room as Kfish, while Jfish has been waiting for J to leave so he can take over the annexe spare room. Tonight will see us doing a speedy room changeover before the social worker visits tomorrow to check that all is well and we’re a suitable host family for a French foster son. Phew!

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