Monday, 19 December 2005

Family ties

Incredibly, although J's mother is a complete nightmare (see below for latest strop story), his brother and his family are all really lovely.

We drove to see them in the countryside where they live on Saturday evening. We caught up with the parents in the village pub (yes, the village pub as there is only one) at the tail end of the Christmas do, and enjoyed a few drinks at their house after finding to our relief that the two youngest nieces hadn't burnt down the house while home alone.

J had prepared his annual food hamper for them for Christmas. He doesn't wrap them, so there was much excitement as it was put under the tree. I think he kind of wanted to keep it for himself. It is nice to see someone so genuinely excited to give a gift to someone else.

We didn't get to bed until nearer three, when I immediately passed out. I woke at about 910 in the morning with a very full bladder. As I went to the bathroom, I could hear Brother in lively discourse with Youngest Niece downstairs, along the lines of "No you can't go in there, they're probably still asleep!!".

The dispute was swiftly decided in the favour of YN as I flushed the toilet. She came rushing up the stair followed by the house dog and cat and straight into our room. J was very charmed.

We don't see them that often, and YN, who is only 4, had really grown up a lot just over the past few months. If only the process was as swift in her uncle.

She was much intrigued by his chest hair and also pointed out that he's her father's brother, just to reassert that's what an uncle is.

We were served tea in bed and then a very nice cooked breakfast with local bacon (we've probably driven past those very same happy pigs at some point this year) and then went for a walk where we ran into live horses and sheep and a lot of people who probably drive SUVs and gossip a lot behind each other's back.

Brother's Partner and I had a good bitch about J's mother, who had recently told her she's a lousy parent, which is clearly a thing which shouldn't be said to anyone, especially not your daughter-in-law. And especially not by someone who has managed to raise two supremely dysfunctional sons herself. To someone who sports three perfectly harmonious offspring.

The walk was followed by a hearty home-made lunch, and then we humoured Brother by going to church and singing carols with him, although we slipped away during the following socialising session among the SUVs parked outside the freezing cold countryside church.

Afterwards we prematurely dug into the hamper for sweets to accompany some creative Christmas decoration-making. J joined in and actually did quite well, although his hands are probably slightly too big for the purpose.

And then we headed home.

A lovely weekend. But omg, let's never move to the English countryside.

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