My flight was delayed by longer than I care to think about, ironic as I was in a panic at the railway station when I learned the train I planned to catch had been cancelled. A quick reroute, and I arrived at the airport more or less on time. And then had to kill it in a series of crowded areas amid families heading off for their summer hols. When I booked my flight I hadn't considered that this was the weekend after many schools in England would have broken up for the summer and hence one of the busiest times for travel all year.
We left Luton as the sun was setting. The sun is still setting. The sky looks much as it did thirty minutes ago, but we are flying north where the days are significantly longer at this time of year than in London and the Home Counties.
From which you have worked out that I am off to Cousin's again and flying to Belfast. I have no plans, or rather I had no plans, but in the moments before take off a swift exchange of texts and now I am seeing a friend tomorrow. Earlier texts at the airport with Speccy means that Tuesday afternoon is also pencilled in the diary as a possible time to meet up.
MasterB is in the care of Older Nephew. I have been sent a picture of my boy sitting under a chair watching a feather toy being waved at him with some suspicion. But it's a start. He's prepared to be in the same room as Older Nephew, and has even shown some enthusiasm for his company when his food bowl was replenished. They are not strangers. They have met aboard das Boot, and I am fairly confident that in a few days, or rather nights, Older Nephew will find his feet weighed down by MasterB's recumbent form as he sleeps.
I shall be reunited with Westie Boy, with Pip and Toots, and maybe even WestiePup if she's having a holiday in the country. There will be walks in sunshine and in rain, cows to talk to in the fields, poetry to read with Cousin's friend, and who knows, maybe a cultural activity or two at the Heaney Homeplace. I haven't called Uncke Bill to say I am arriving, so I'll need to do that tomorrow and see if there's a chance we can meet up.
Yes, I'll be back with the family again.
I wrote the above on the 'plane, with the iPad in flight mode. It was late when we reached the house, later still when we went to bed. Cousin is a bit of a night owl, and we stayed up until two. So understandably it was an equally late start to the day. But the weather is glorious, and much too good to waste, so Westie Boy and I went out for a walk so I could check up on any new developments in the neighbourhood.
That obviously had to include a visit to Cousin's older son's house up the road. He and his wife have been living there for a year or more now, but it is still under construction. It's already gorgeous, and will be a wonderful house when finished. The dogs are very much at home there. Here is Toots, looking like a little princess.
My friend Jo who I've known most of my life called by this afternoon, Cousin and I may do the family heritage trail this evening, and tomorrow it looks like I have a date in Belfast to meet Fiona. I'm making metaphorical hay while the sun shines, as rain is forecast on Wednesday and Thursday, Jo mentioned that Antiques Roadshow is to be at Stormont on Saturday, so if the weather is kind we may all meet up there. Watch for me in the crowds listening to an expert tell someone that the old vase they have been using as a doorstop for the last twenty years is worth millions.