Would you think me cruel if I said I was delighted when my husband had the blues last week?

Part of my life as a child, teenager and adult has been going on residentials.  I have grown up spending weeks and weekends in close proximity to a group of people I don’t see every day.  These residentials have been a big part in forming who I am.

They have taken different forms – trips away with youth orchestra, outward A residential centre. The joy of having the bluesbound activities, teaching seminars, and church camps.  (I use the word “camp” loosely as I have only ever slept inside 🙂 .)  As a child and teenager, we slept in dormitories and managed to sleep as little as possible to keep ourselves alive.  As an adult, I prefer the comfortable en-suite rooms that are now on offer.  The residential centre where I have spent the most time is Purley Chase Centre.

Having the Purley Blues

The thing is, whenever I get home, I suffer from what I call the “Purley Blues”.  I may have been away with a group of families for sharing and relaxation, or I may have had a couple of days in meetings with Man standing on a beach in front of some stacks. The joy of having the bluesmy colleagues.  It doesn’t seem to matter which it is – I miss being with the people and feel sad and a little lonely.  This has happened so many times in my life that I couldn’t possibly count.  It surprised me that when I was there purely for work I would still feel low when I got home.

I am glad that my children also love being on residentials.  They have had such an impact on me that it is wonderful for me to be able to pass this experience on to my family.

My husband didn’t grow up in this sort of culture.  He didn’t have family living away that he went to stay with, either.  He is more reserved than me, and can find being in big groups quite stressful.  I blogged last year about how he ended up going on Beaver Camp rather than me.  I am sure that when he was notified that his DBS had come through the day before camp started, he had tears in his eyes.  It was so far out of his comfort zone that he was dreading it.  Those who know me will find it hard to believe that he needs more sleep than me to survive, but this was also one of his concerns.

Out of his comfort zone

He had the most amazing time, as did the young Beaver of our household.  He truly surprised himself at Two Beavers, one Brownie and a Dad ready to get on a coach. The joy of having the blueshow much he enjoyed it.  However, when Group Camp came around this time, he still wasn’t looking forward to it.  I definitely couldn’t be the parent that went as I was working that weekend.  Shame.  He didn’t think it could be as good as it was last year as it totally surpassed his expectations.  The group of children he was helping to look after had been a delight.  Surely this couldn’t happen again?

So, when we spoke on the Monday lunchtime after camp, I was astonished and yet delighted when he told me he had the blues.  He likened it to my “Purley Blues”.  Apart from the Cubs still being up at 4.25 am and noisily waking for the day at 5.36, he couldn’t fault the weekend.  He enjoyed being with such a great group of people.

Celebrating the happiness that caused the blues

The other reason for his blues was that he knew it wouldn’t be like that again.  Our little boy will be in Cubs this time next year, and share tents with their peers.  My husband could go and help out, but he Group of people sitting around a bonfire, toasting marshmallows. The joy of having the blueswouldn’t be spending the time with our son.  The two weekends they had had together wouldn’t be repeated in the future in quite the same way.

As Bob Marley says, “The good times of today, are the sad thoughts of tomorrow.”  Without the blues, we don’t get the highs.  Everything is in shades of grey.  And I am glad of tomorrow’s sad thoughts if means that today I have been happy.

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Photograph of Purley Chase Centre copyright General Conference of the New Church


  1. Oh those Purley blues. I know them so well. And yes it doesn’t seem to matter whether one is at Purley for a purely relaxing weekend or working in some shape or form – at the end of it one comes away already missing the place, the people – just everything about it.
    Oh well I guess it just means I look forward to the next time I am there!
    I can also sympathise with your husband. I can get very nervous going to something where I don’t know people or where there are a lot of people. At Gathering Leaves held at Purley 10 years ago, I was helping and, leading up to the event, I started getting extremely nervous. I didn’t know many people going and worried I would feel out of my depth. I tried telling myself I was in a familiar place and that a lot of the women that came were in unfamiliar territory, so they would probably be even more uncertain than me but it didn’t really help. However, just as it was with your husband, I needn’t have worried. I had a fabulous time and came away feeling so pleased that I hadn’t backed out (as I had considered doing). Just shows that we need to remember these experiences whenever we find ourselves being tested again.

    1. I’m so glad it worked out well and that you didn’t back out of Gathering Leaves, Gwendolen. I was nervous this before this weekend because I was leading a group and a service somewhere I’d never been before. I also worried about whether the patents and their teenagers (and one aged 20) would be prepared to speak up in front of each other. They were great! I’m missing them all today

  2. I haven’t heard of Purley before but I think it sounds like a great thing!! So pleased your husband went out if his comfort zone and he enjoyed it!

    1. I have to say I would be even more delighted if he ever got the Purley blues, but it hasn’t happened yet…

  3. I agree with Bob Marley. You have to appreciate life to have the blues, life is full of ups and downs

  4. Its not wrong having blues as it shows you the positives and negatives in life. We all experience it, just hope your husband’s blues has gone away.

  5. This is such a thought provoking post. I myself never really went in trips but I love seeing my son enjoying all the things I never did like swim clubs and cubs camps and sleepovers! He definitely suffers with the blues when he is back though especially as he gets so much more freedom as the cubs camps!

    1. I think it’s good for us to realise why they are sometimes grumpy when they get back – they are not just tired, bit missing everyone as well

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