Thanks to my two beautiful nieces Kelly and Michelle, (neither of whom I'd seen for years) , I spent this weekend in Staffordshire at my cousin Debbie's 50th birthday party.
I wish the digital camera had been functioning, but I took (and used) four disposables instead so now have to afford processing for something like 100 traditional snapshots. I imagine a few will need throwing away but if there aren't a dozen worthy of enlargement I shall be very disappointed.
Still Sian (Yay Sian!), another cousin, drove home on Saturday and had her favourite shots up on facebook before I even got home on Sunday. What a diamond.
I took Imogen with me and went up by train, which was an amazingly agreeable experience - even with the Victoria line closed and no trains across the whole Manchester area (a replacement bus running out of Stoke), courtesy of my darling 'professional traveller' of a husband, I knew all this in advance, knew what routes to take instead, even what direction to head off in within the main train stations to find the right platforms. It was like feeling I'd done the whole journey last month already. No scary bits. No fear about the time, and little concern about whether we'd got on the wrong underground train, because there was room enough for an adventure even if we had.
Trueman was happy not to leave the computer and very excited to have his dad to himself for a whole weekend - he clings to Gary when he gets home from working away all week. Poor G got home at 9 on Friday night, we spent that evening packing and covering all eventualities for my sake, then I deserted him at 7 the next morning to get the train, leaving him to do all his own laundry and re-pack his own bag for this week. At least we had two hours and a meal together on Sunday, after I got back and before he left.
It was worth it.
Like her middle child Michelle, she is totally family oriented - all about nurturing, about the children, about making sure everyone feels welcome and included. Its quite therapeutic just to sit next to someone who is fulfilled to that extent, just enjoying her children and grandchildren and the harmony there is between them all.
Kelly is just as much of a sweetheart but also enjoys her education and runs her own business. She set-up the party and the surprise and the food and all of it - she did all of the work and is an amazing organizer. Her little girl is as bright as a button too, just like her mum.
James, the youngest, is tall, slender, dark and broody looking with a wonderful sense of humour. So easy going, so pleasant. One of those facilitators who melts into the background by choice and just keeps everything being smooth. I spent some time trying to convince him to go in to modelling, at least as a sideline.
I hope they don't mind me describing them publicly, but I have my reasons. For now this is my diary, a snapshot (until the real photos come back).
Lovely weekend, lovely month, lots to think on. Family is so important, isn't it?