"Don't drop in without phoning first," I heard myself say, only half joking, to some friends who talked about calling in to the bach over summer.

"Now that's what we call being hospitable," they replied sarcastically.

It got me wondering about hospitality, and what it really means. I checked my battered old Oxford dictionary that puts it as: "Hospitality, n. Friendly and liberal reception of guests or strangers."

It seems I'd better adjust my attitude...


Is it okay to call in unannounced these days? Do we always have to phone or text ahead? I grew up in an era where it seemed my mother and her friends were forever "calling in or coffee" in our neighbourhood.

Talking to her the other day she admitted that, at 75 years old, she's noticed they rarely do that anymore and it's much more likely they'll jump into the car to meet at a local cafe. Digging deeper, it's not just because there are cafes now - it's that there's a guardedness; our homes have become more private; our time more precious; and, let's be honest, unless you have children, the cake tins are more than likely empty.

Yet we complain that our sense of community is fading now, too. Meeting in neutral paces, however much we might like the cafe scene, might not be such a good idea.

So, I'm filling the cake tins just in case and keeping an open mind to friends and strangers who might like to "just drop in over the summer". How very liberal of me.