In this issue: The AND of life – Nature’s guide – There’s something in the wind – Until next time? – Steady as you go – Eternally yours – Secrets of the locked room – Microscopic marvels – Once upon a time – Wild haven

Wisdom, skills, discoveries. There are myriad things people love to share, from favourite authors to life lessons learned the hard way. It’s exciting and often leads to an exchange of ideas that is both thought-provoking and enlightening.

Some areas are more challenging. Take, for example, personal space. The very notion of sharing hearth and home is anathema for some, while others regularly – and happily – open their door to visits from friends and family. The sentiment applies equally in reverse. An invitation to spend the night at a friend’s house might prompt an inner dialogue of, ‘that’ll be a real treat, let’s set a date’ or ‘oh dear, how on earth do I get out of this?’ depending on where you sit on the stopovers scale.

Whether host or guest, however, awareness, balance and communication (or ABC, if preferred) are part and parcel of creating an experience that’s rewarding for all concerned. Underlying this is honesty (with a cap H), which is essential when it comes to a mutually rewarding visit. This isn’t about critiquing the host’s cooking à la Jay Rayner or channelling Albert Hadley’s discerning eye for interior design. Rather, it involves all sides being open and candid about expectations, finances and preferences.

Before extending or accepting an invitation to share home and hearth, take a step back, pause, breathe, think. If the idea genuinely appeals, don’t delay. Send that message and set the date. Equally, however, it’s perfectly okay to keep the (literal) door closed and opt instead for shorter get-togethers, be that a pleasant dinner or a leisurely stroll.

Sharing personal space is challenging, especially during those times of the year when the whole world seems to be clamouring to cross the threshold of your home. But it can nurture generational bonds, nourish friendships and create the most wonderful memories. If it’s your thing, open the door and prepare to have fun. If not, few things beat sharing personal discoveries about authors, musicians and artists – and all time spent with loved ones is precious, whether a flying visit or long-haul.

Cover Illustration: Xuan Loc Xuan