Having travelled on the coach overnight from Paris to Leicester we arrived at my parent’s new house at 10am, bright eyed and bushy tailed and ready to begin a full fun day with the family. OK so bright eyed and bushy tailed may have been a slight exaggeration and I might have needed a small nana-nap shortly after arrival, but it certainly was a full and fun day with family and friends as my father was inducted as minister at his new church.
It’s been quite a while since there has been such a ‘gathering of the clan’, and those who were unable to join us were desperately missed, (I’ll catch up with you one day big sis!), but it was good to see my other siblings again. Whilst modern communication methods make keeping in touch a lot easier, you just cant beat a good big hug.
The day passed all too quickly, but joyfully, and once again it was great to hear my parents house ringing with laughter and although some of the laughter was being directed at my fabulously chic ¾ length trouser suit, it was being directed by a man who had taken the casual part of the smart casual dress code to heart with his orange stripy number, so I wasn’t too offended. And to you my darling brother I would just say this. You are SO right when you say that not everyone can carry off orange…..
The following day saw slightly fewer bodies cluttering up the new manse and we trotted off to enjoy my fathers first service, and have a good old sing. When a congregation member leaves the service and can find nothing complementary to say to the minister they are often heard to mutter ‘nice hymns vicar’. Well we had some very nice hymns. Thankfully the rest of the service was wonderful too and It’s good to hear he hasn’t lost his touch after 6 years state-side. I’m a bit of a sucker for singing hymns if I’m being honest and given the right selection I would give Ethel Merman a run for her money! There is something about the style and tone of hymn singing that suits my voice and even my daughter had to grudgingly admit that mummy ‘didn’t sound too rubbish really’. High praise indeed.
Once the next consignment of visitors had departed it was just left with my parents, me, Moo and my Auntie W. Although separating Auntie W from Moo was becoming increasingly difficult so we may as well have counted them as just one. Moo hadn’t seen Aunty W since she was 8 months old, but if you had encountered the pair of them, it would not occur to you that they did not spent everyday together, or that the age difference between them was getting on for 75 years. Both of them were happy chatting away to each other about subjects as diverse as the latest cartoons and the best way to prune your garden. Gr-aunty W is now fully versed in the lore of Ben-10 and I am expecting Moo to do great things with next years herbaceous border, and her Scottish accent is coming on a treat. The best quote of the week has to go to Moo, who marched into the living room and addressed gr-aunty W with the frankness that only a child can get away with.
M – “ You’re a very old lady aren’t you? “
W- “Well yes, I am almost 80”
M, in the finest Edinburgh brogue she could muster – “Well I’m affy glad you’re no deed”
W- while the rest of us were doubled up in the kitchen – ‘well do you know what Moo – so am I”.
When I informed Moo that my folks and her ‘Gr-aunty W’ were off on a day out on the river and we were not going with them she was rather annoyed with me, but I made it up to her by taking her to see one of my beautiful friends. Mrs Banana and I used to work together another lifetime ago in a theatre in Bristol, but she now lives in Cheshire with her gorgeous family. Her boy B, is almost the same age as Moo and on the far too rare occasions they have been together they are instant and forever friends. Bit like me and his mum really, too add to the bunch Mrs Banana now has 2 cherub looking girls and a splendidly normal afternoon was spent watching football and eating crisps.
I will admit to a small amount of frustrations on the journey. Why can’t people drive properly? Obviously with a full 2 years under my belt now I am of course an expert, and as the miles ticked by I was muttering more and more thinly veiled threats to the middle lane hoggers of middle England. There will be time enough I’m sure for a full scale rant on this subject at some point in the future, but for now I shall be brief.
Pull out to overtake, overtake, the go back in . IS IT REALLY THAT HARD??? Apparently so.
Mum took us to a very sweet little tea shop which happened to be next to a very very dangerous shop that I shouldn’t have been allowed anywhere near. You see it has magic shoes. I know they are magic because I heard them speaking to me. I walked in and the magical shoes called my name, they told me to try them on and the magic didn’t stop there because they fitted me perfectly and they only cost10 pounds (ok so it was 10 pounds each, but it was still a bargain!). I am rather hoping the magic continues when I get them home as they must shrink rather dramatically if they stand any chance of getting into my suitcase.
Well the week with my family drew to a close and we gave ourselves up once more into the trusty arms of the National Express Coach company and headed down south for a couple of days catching up with friends.
It was a joy to see JJ and all thoughts of traipsing into London that day gave way to under the gentlest of persuasion and the afternoon was spent leisurely munching on pastry whilst watching Moo disobey my every breath and soaking herself from head to foot in the town fountain.
I will tell people often that it’s the simple things in life that make me happy.
Leisure was put to one side the next morning as the serious, and heavily co-ordinated day of social appointments, which would probably mean lots of running for trains, began.
London Bridge 9am, Out to the burbs by 9.30
11 am to charing cross, then up to Old Compton St for a …
1.30pm Covent garden
2pm Green park
5pm Tottenham court road
6pm London Bridge – then back to Luton
It seemed like such a good plan.
And for once it actually worked out rather well. inevitably coffee, chatter and admiring children out in the burbs led to the aforementioned running, and we got a train a teeny bit later than planned, but a quick taxi ride rescued a few minutes and we were treated to some scrumptious cakes and an brilliant early afternoon natter.
Old friends done, new friends to make. By a stroke of serendipity LD’s mum and dad were in London today and almost impossibly they have never yet met Moo. I was just bemoaning that very fact a couple of days ago, and out of the blue LD managed to get them some last minute tickets to see Placido Domingo (or was it Carerras?!) perform, flights were booked, arrangements made and here we all were heading off for an afternoon of sandpits and bubbles at the beautiful and very large Green Park. What a lovely way to spend an afternoon.
There was just time to run up to my old place of work and pop in for a very quick hello, and we were off again to meet JJ for our ride home.
I’m not altogether convinced that running around London for a day was ideal preparation for the long haul journey to Macau that starts Sunday morning, but it was just to good to miss.
So the next time I write will be from Macau where our misadventures are sure to be continuing.