Sunday, April 08, 2007

Holiday snapshots

I have just arrived home from a visit down south to see family. The rest of the this blog could be the equivalent of digging out the holiday photos and showing you endless pictures of people you are never likely to meet. So, I will hand out a few awards instead!

The award for the least stressful day – there wasn’t one! When you have a huge family and feel obliged to make sure that you visit each and every member and they don’t live near each other it is stressful. The one day that we did not visit anyone – the Monday – that was stressful because of all the phone calls I had to make to arrange who to visit and when!

The award for the most stressful day – take your pick! I am opting for Thursday – visiting my sister in Northampton. She has moved house, not that I could ever find her previous house either. Northampton isn’t a part of the UK that I know well. I had been to the library earlier on in the week and downloaded an AA route to the house. It worked up to a point. There were considerably more traffic lights than the route mentioned. Once we found the place, we had a great time, catching up with the news and re-acquainting myself with nieces and nephews. They told me a quicker way home, which might have actually been quicker in daylight! Driving around Northamptonshire villages late at night is not fun.

Award for the best family cooked meal – there were a lot of cooked meals to chomp our way through. Every sibling invited us to dinner! I have no wish to eat pasta for quite a while - that seemed to be the staple ingredient for most meals. The prize goes to my brother who cooked a wonderful chicken and rice meal with spinach. He also let us join in on the preparation of the desert – a wonderful lime cheesecake. I de-rinded the limes! Second prize, if there was one, goes to my youngest sister. It was the opposite of the feeding of the five thousand with the loaves and fishes. She had cooked to feed the five thousand, and half a dozen of us polished the lot off.

Award for most entertaining company – not relatives at all this time, but a very good friend. That is not to say that visiting the family was not entertaining because it was. It is just that my family don’t do magic tricks and these folks do. On a previous visit, many years ago, their younger son, practically set himself on fire juggling with lighted batons! This time he kept the repertoire down to card tricks. It is all about miss direction and having the right kind of patter!

Award for nicest niece or nephew – they are all rather wonderful people and a real credit to their parents. I have to admit that my personal favourite is Harriet – not for anything she did this time round, but on a previous visit. She had been extraordinarily kind and like an elephant, I don’t forget! She is a person that looks out for others and makes people feel comfortable and at ease. Her sister, Charlotte, is wonderful too! She loves poetry! She is the one most likely to change the world – lots of opinions about what is wrong and what needs to be done to improve things. Most likely to make it to the Olympics, if they have women’s rugby as a sport, is my niece Emma who is going to a rugby festival in Great Yarmouth this Easter weekend.

Award for best family pet – apart from one cat and a guinea pig, they are all into dogs. I think there are as many dogs as there are nieces and nephews. We only had brief glimpses of some of them – like Bailey, the bulldog. He belongs to Kelly who bought him and then discovered she was pregnant. She is optimistic that there won’t be any problems. Jethro, who belongs to my sister Sharon, has to be the most laid back and relaxed of them all. He hangs around horses most of the day. Bob gets the prize though. He belongs to another sister, Carla, a black Labrador, endlessly patient and mild mannered. We took him out for a walk, or a “pull”. The village playing field was overrun with children learning how to play football, so we found an old footpath and took him down there. Lots of puddles to throw sticks into that Bob gloriously chased down!

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