Yesterday Rocksey and I attened a family reunion tea party which my cousin Amy had organised.
Now Cousin Amy married well and the family has recently moved into a footballers wifesque country mansion complete with parking for around 20 cars, indoor pool ( this is England after all) with paddocks and even a woodland to boot.
The family reunion came about when an elderly Aunt suggested that it would be nice to see far flung members of the family at a different gathering other than a funeral. Which, when you are 93 years old is a pretty good idea!
We arrived mid point of the afternoon after losing our way several times and drove up through the impressive driveway flanked with huge trees, the house barely visible the driveway being that long. We parked amongst Cousin Amys and husband Ruben’s glitzy collection of vehicles ( a car for everyday darling) Amy kissed Rocksey on both cheeks leaving smears of peach lipstick on his face and poured us both a glass of prosecco. I’m sure there are people here you have never met – she stage whispered to me and ushered us into The Orangery where a collection of (mostly) elderly Aunts were sipping tea and oohhing and ahhing over old photographs of youthful couples and parents long passed away.
Now we think we live in grand surroundings back at the far but Amys house takes your breath away, like stepping into an interior design magazine, theres even a baby grand piano in the hallway which you don’t even have to squeeze past- my sister Lou – demonstrates – mind you she is stick thin so even if there was only a hairs breadth between the piano and the wall she would still breeze through whilst us mere mortals would be stuck fast waving our arms and legs like trapped insects!
We took a tour of the house courtesey of Amy’s youngest daughter who delighted in showing us her brothers messy room and her own imaculate one ( and he’s only been back from uni for a week – she smirked – look at the mess!), the tour took some time , I declined the additional tour of the garden and exhausted, allowed Amys eldest daughter to demonstrate the built in latte machine which made as many different styles of coffee you could think of and more besides).
Another cousins husband (obviously with a lot of time on his hands) had painstakingly constructed a family tree datig back to 1713 which we poured over fascinated- filling in gaps where we could and endlessly questioned the elderly Aunts as to names and faces long resigned to memory banks that were being jogged back into life. The aging parents – being the youngest of the elderly relatives were elated by their youthfulness and the never ending supply of easy to eat sandwiches with soft fillings and a very gooey cake which a distant great cousin bragged about making from scratch but later, after a few Gins, confessed to buying at Costco.
Lou found that Amy had a stash of old baby photos of her which she had never seen before and were swiftly popped into her overly large handbag . There are no photos of you – Rocksey stated as he politely sifted his way through a carrier bag of memorabilia. Now that doesn’t surprise me, being the second child I think the aging parents had enough on their plates than snap away at baby no 2 when toddler no 1 is running amok. I can safely say that this was also my own experience with Missy and The Baron, there are many albums full of Missy but very few of The Baron. much to his relief I have to add ( and much to Missy’s chagrin when trying to find embarrassing pics of her brother to upload to FaceBook on his birthday).
The late afternoon turns to early evening with the elderly Aunts snoozing peacefully in the bath chairs with the pleasant late sunshine filtering through the blinds. The aging parents had challenged Amy’s dad to a game of croquet on the lawn and Rocksey and I decided that it wa time to go.
We manouvered our way past Rubens red Ferrrari and the eclectic collection of elderly Aunts vehicles of choice and took the pretty road home. Finally back in the shabby chic relaxed atmosphere of home, as far removed from Footballer Wife show house as can be ( which lovely as it is, did not inspire me with House Envy – which I am prone to ) Rocksey puts the chickens to bed and we cuddle up on the sofa with the cat with tea and toast to contemplate on the 4 generations of family we have spent the main part of the day with. It has been a very pleasant way of spending a Saturday afternoon, and a far better way of gathering the family together without an obligatory funeral service. I think we should do it with my side of the family next time…..yawned Rocksey ….I wonder whether Amy would be up to organising that for me.