25 September 2010 (Saturday) - The Family Reunion
To Hampshire for the in-laws family reunion. Every year the family would get together for great-grandma’s birthday, and since she’s been gone the tradition has continued. This year the venue was in Ringwood; mutually inconvenient for everyone, but then, probably in the best place it could be, bearing in mind the distances people have to travel. And there’s a brewery in Ringwood with which I am not entirely unfamiliar…
Our journey down was rather uneventful, and we were among the first to arrive at the hotel. We settled down in the bar with a pint and a half of Ringwood’s Best and my mobile rang. My brother in law and his entourage were stuck in traffic. I gloated, and told them I’d keep people talking until they arrived. And soon people were arriving. So I got off my bum (easier said than done) and did the “meeting and greeting thing”.
I’m not sure how they have managed it, but the in-laws have somehow found a whole new tribe the existence of which everyone has been hitherto unaware. Once upon a time I had passed “The Test” in which I would have two family members pointed out to me at random. I would know their familial relationship to each other, and the common ancestor of said family members (or their partners). Now however there is an entire new load of collaterals, and no one (least of all themselves) seems to quite know exactly where they fit into the great scheme of things. Mind you, they seem pleasant enough, so I’m not complaining. I expect they will appear on my Facebook list over the next few weeks: that’s how I get to know most of the in-laws these days.
After a couple of pints of Ringwood’s Best all the stragglers had arrived and we went through to the meal. Usually this is the part I dread – being sat next to “normal people” and having to be on my best behaviour. But this time fate had smiled on me – I was sat next to a second cousin in law who I’ve known for years, and we jointly grumbled about how unfair it was that her sister got to sit on the kiddies table. And we tried (and failed) to throw paper aeroplanes at the kiddies table.
Dinner was served. To be fair, the food wasn’t as good as that which I’ve had in a lot of pubs over the year, but it was hot and tasty, which was a distinct improvement on last year’s venue. (The many and varied failings of the
Victoria Hotel in have been ranted about enough in the past). And once diner was scoffed a laptop PC was brought around. It was hooked up to Skype and we all waved at Canadian cousins. And then as most of the family settled down to after dinner coffee and polite conversation, I settled down to a fifth pint of Ringwood’s Best and a game of “Smack Smack Bum”; an obscure party game in which I get as many children as possible to run round as posh an establishment as possible, whilst screaming as loudly as they possibly can. A tough job, but if I didn’t do I, who else would? Hastings
I slept most of the way home, and then once home I immediately set off to work. There was a bit of a backlog, and the opportunity for overtime had arisen. And regular readers will realise I’m a tad short of readies at the moment…