This weekend has seen a return to personal form on a level not known since about October last year. There is clearly a correlation between holidays, lack of stress, and being able to live a normal active life. Or it's just taken me six months to get over completing my MA and emerge, blinking mole-like, from dark book baggage.
On my return from foreign parts last week my brother called me to remind me about the imminent maternal birthday festivities. He was wondering when the heck I was arriving on 6th June. My brother stresses a lot. Strange, because I don't worry about stuff at all.
To be fair he was right to be worried. It turns out I had the wrong weekend in my befuddled head. After a hurried ticket booking and further consultation with the man of the family, everything was organised. All I had to do was get to Pewsey at 9.30 and he would pick me up. I managed it despite over-sleeping and set a world record for crossing London in the process.
We arrived at his and I finally had my first cup of tea of the day. My nephew hid under a cushion. So my sister in law decided that we'd better put on our party faces as we didn't want to send anyone else scurrying under the soft furnishings. Chris made a fabulous eggs benedict and we sat in the sunny garden, discussing food. It's pretty much staple conversational fodder in our family.
My brother is proud to announce that in four years he's grown one stalk of purple asparagus. He reports it tasted the same as green. I'm glad we cleared that up.
Roo's favourite colour is red. And he enjoys writing his name. He also loves cars, doing roly-polys, telling stories, swimming, BMX tracking around the garden, and playing catch with Izzy the dog. He doesn't do sprinting competitions at school because he isn't fast enough to win. After all it's not the taking part... His ambition is to explore the jungle. He had me in stitches. He's also a perfect budding worry-wart. On being left in the car, we conspired to drive away; neither of us have a driving licence. He thought about it with a naughty smile, then looked panicked. 'We can't drive', he announced, 'we'd be 'rrested'.
True. I have a feeling I'm going to have to work on his more anarchistic side.
The party went off well, despite the many and varied ailments of the family grandees. The pub was a lucky find given that someone had mixed up The Snooty Fox and the The Fox. Chris had asked me about venues and mentioned foxes. I thought it was the 'other' fox so he booked this fox. We were clearly utterly foxed. But thankfully the landlady was charming and the food was all home made. The apple crumble was excellent according to those in the know. My uncle only deals in cider apples so went for the icecream. Wise man. Roo agreed that the strawberry was the best he'd ever had. He's a card.
After all the fox kerfuffle, we went to see the White Horse. Chris and Roo demonstrated the art of rolling down hills, given a piquant twist of sheep droppings and the boys being in their best party clothes. My mum and uncle enjoyed the walk from the comfort of their stationary vehicle. My family is truly priceless.
After an excellent day, it was rounded off by a walk in a jungle-like Pewsey nature reserve, and Roo being excited by the trains and tannoy at the station. I only know one person in Pewsey but we haven't spoken in years. Turns out she was standing on the platform, catching the identical train back to London that I was. Coincidence made for a great ending of a really good day.
And the most exciting thing? Next week I get to introduce my nephew to Dippy at the Natural History Museum!