We went on an expedition to another cousin’s house last night. Maps were consulted. Traffic conditions considered. Cousin’s older sister agreed after a few ‘phone calls to come with us. Watches were synchronised. Cousin’s brother and his wife arranged to meet us at our destination.
I was the only one who had been there before, but I had no memory of how to get there. I just knew it was quite near Uncle Bill’s. The satnav was consulted.
We stopped en route so we could arrive bearing gifts.
We were greeted by a hen who followed us to the front door. I thought she was going to come into the house, and Cousin did too, but the cousin who opened the door refused her admission. Uncle Bill was already there. The house belongs to one of his sons.
It was lovely. The two dogs were as big and gentle as I remembered. The hens kept appearing at windows to check on our activities. Finches entertained us at a variety of bird feeders. The cat walked across the garden. Being members of a family where talking is almost a competitive sport, the conversations did not lag.
Uncle Bill atarted telling me about holidays he and Aunt Ella took, cycling and pitching a tent where a landowner would allow. One such was on an island off the west coast. The woman of the house gave permission but asked Uncle Bill to whitewash the outside of her cottage. She had six children who all had the same birthday. Her husband was away in England, returning home for the harvest each year. For some reason he needed to apply for some benefit in England and give details of his family. The authorities found the shared birthdays hard to believe. It required a letter from the parish priest before they accepted this was the truth.
Uncle Bill’s daughter-in-law came home from work and immediately set about preparing a spread for us all. We had a ball. Uncle Bill was on great form, and as they say in this part of the world, the craic was good.