“We need more lodgers,” said Maria Silversmith to her husband Joe one evening. Ten years back, they had bought their large rambling house to accommodate six children as well as two elderly relatives. With only the two younger children now left at home, the house seemed achingly empty, even with the presence of Tim their lodger, who had become like one of the family. “Let’s make a webpage, then people looking for lodgings can easily find us,” suggested Joe.

Their family home was an ideal place for lodgers. They were easy-going and welcoming people. Maria was a caring woman who could be motherly to student-age lodgers or a wise friend to anyone nearer her own age. Joe liked the extra company and was a gracious host, while Sue and Jason (10 and 14) already treated (or boisterously mistreated) Tim as an older brother. Indeed, Tim’s stay with them had been a healing time for him in many ways. Of course, as in any family, there were grumpy times but these usually evaporated quickly.

“Let’s sit down after dinner and list what to put on our webpage,” announced Joe the next day. There were so many things they might have said. How Joe loved fishing and motorbikes. That Maria was a music teacher and played in a band. The way Sue and Jason played a mean game of tennis. Even how Tim their lodger had found healing and acceptance in the Silversmith household.

But somehow, despite their gifts and interests, the Silversmiths found it hard to communicate when not face-to-face. So their webpage ended up looking rather like this:

  • one photo of the front of the house (no people pictured at all)
  • measurements of the rooms available for lodgers, with details of the decor and furniture
  • a list of house-rules and meal-times
  • a short history about the building of their house

And that was it. The Silversmiths could never understand why “the website didn’t work”.


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