The first family reunion

Day 28

Saturday … 30th … There is sun albeit a very cold wind is again taking the limelight

I was first up this morning, had showered and my hand washing was done and on the cloth line before the others ventured out, there wasn’t a lot planned, just a catch up shopping trip before lunch.

We weren’t home long when Norma’s friends Dot and Bert arrived, Dot to chat and Bert to get into the hothouse where he discovered much to his delight, I had repotted a tray of snow peas out next to a bamboo curtain attached to the outside of the hot house, in the hopes that they would climb there. Norma has started taking a great interest out there, in the last few day she has been busy repotting some seedlings and planting others.

This afternoon Susan, Pat and I went off to Walton in Liverpool to meet up with some of Pat’s family from her Mum’s side. Norma refuses to come as she feels she was slighted by them a while back. It turned out to be rather a fun afternoon watching Pat getting to know the family members she hadn’t seen for over sixty years, and for Susan meeting distant cousins for the very first time.

For Pat being the instigator of the get-together it was a highly emotional time, she had been tracing her family tree diligently for years, then contacting each one she could find on facebook, renewing family ties with the hopes of someday meeting up with them again, and this possibly being her last trip back to her homeland it was somewhat surreal that it had actually come to fruition.

Being that, not only was I unrelated to, nor had had any sort of contact with all those waiting to greet us, I found it very interesting observing the reactions and body language as we entered their home. considering both Susan and Patricia were relatives, albeit never having had any contact with them other than on Pat’s F/B page. As expected it took a little while for everybody to relax and feel comfortable enough to be themselves around the newcomers in their midst,.

It wasn’t long until the conversations started to flow naturally thus generating a wave of warmth and friendship that I could sense filtering through the collective group that made it fun to be part of this family reunion.

By the time we had to take our leave, so many questions had been asked and answered, opening the way for new family links to be forged while others were strengthened with promises to keep in touch. On the way home Susan and Pat reminisced about their discoveries and feelings in becoming newly acquainted with this branch of their family, while I dozed quietly in the back seat.

I was so tuckered out that as soon as I sat down in to lounge I was struggling to keep my eyes open so did the only sensible thing, I wished all a good night and went off to bed. I heard the next morning Pat had done the same thing a few minutes later.

Day 21

Saturday … 23rd … A beautiful warm sunny day greeted me as I pulled the drapes open his morning.

Getting over yesterday is something that will take a day or two for those, who find themselves feeling both  physically and emotionally battered and bruised, an understandable result of the harrowing past few weeks, with this eventually in mind nothing too strenuous was planned.

I get the feeling that Norma and I may be alike in the thought that a sunny day and a half-full washing basket should not share the same day, so naturally on goes her washing machine, the only trouble with that being, she didn’t hear me say I’ll just grab mine to add to the load, I’m beginning to see a pattern emerging here ;-).

Just as we were finishing off Brekkie, a knock on the door and in walks, Ian, Lindsay and  Gemma,  soon to be followed by Susan, and John, all whom have returned to collect their cars that had been left here overnight.

After a family chat over warm drinks and cakes left from yesterday Ian and John headed home, whilst the ladies of the family decided to go and photograph the funeral floral arraignments that are left out on display at the Crematorium, they each then took a bloom home to press and keep as a memento, I took the time to myself to take a shower and to do my washing by hand, seeing I missed the washing `machine call.

The sun continued to shine all afternoon, so Norma headed out into the hot house and transplanted the seventy tiny seedlings that had arrived in the post into small plant pots Pat and I sat on chairs outside enjoying the sunshine until it was time for diner, consisting of salad and gamin or salad and salmon, all being left over from yesterday,

It was then time to bring in the cloths off the line, clean up the kitchen and head off into the lounge with a warm drink of our choice and an ice-cream, watch some TV and head off to bed.

Day 13

Friday … 15th … Again woke to the sun streaming through the lace curtains.

On hearing movement in the kitchen I venture down stairs, enter to find Norma making herself a morning coffee, after being assured she has had a good night’s sleep, with no adverse reaction as a result of her fall, I can see the egg that worryingly sat on her right temple last night, has evolved into a black eye nestled in a slightly swollen area, that any prize fighter would be proud to sport.

A forecast predicting a rather cold wet next few days prompted a linen changing day, so the washing machine was loaded up with the first load, other morning chores are quickly dispensed with and we three set off to the shops.

I can’t get enough of browsing the isles, my interest being the different products for sale here. My main frustration at the moment is that no shop we have been to sells a simple pure all purpose bar soap, this is a product that is used in every room of our home, be it bathroom, kitchen or laundry. Doing hand washing or any sort of washing for that matter with chemical infused laundry powder is not something I enjoy.

Asking for familiar items also brings its own laughs as well as rewards, my inquiry as to where the store’s lolly section was located, had an assistant looking at me as if I was a different species, and naturally I didn’t think to use the word confectionary, but truth be told I was having as much trouble getting him to understand me as I was understanding his very English accent, albeit we both spoke the same language … it makes one a little more understanding of how an immigrant must feel in trying to communicate with limited English.

Eventually returning home, hang washing out, pop another load in the machine and have lunch, with no more errands to run, we have free time. Norma chooses to take a nap in her room, Pat sits in the sunshine in the hope of easing the pain that is relentlessly niggling at her hip, I go playing in Joe’s little hot house, Norma isn’t a gardener and hasn’t decided what to do with all the seedlings growing there, tomatoes, onions, carrots, spring flowers and herbs, all I can really do is keep the water up to them, until someone either takes them home or plants them out here.

Pat is on dinner duty tonight, so prepares pork schnitzels coated in crushed cornflakes, and mixed Vegies, between the three of us we are enjoying a variety of traditional meals but cooked in our own individual style.

Tonight it Norma’s rugby viewing night on TV and her home town of Wigan is playing, Pat isn’t interested in sport of any kind so is in her room on a PC, I went in to keep Norma company, honestly, it is a rather unusual game that didn’t hold my interest, I kept dozing off, so at half time I went out and washed the dishes, give me good old Aussie rules football any day.

Thought I better touch base at home, so rang Hubby only to be told he had been pretty crook with man flu, but was on the mend, I also set him the task of choosing a birthday gift for our daughter as I will not be there to do it myself, will be interesting to hear what he chooses for her.

It’s off to bed for me now.

Days 9,10 and 11

Monday 11th, 7.30 am. Overcast, cloudy with a gusty, and no doubt cold wind blowing.

Today is the allotted day for shopping, Norma and Pat need outfits for the upcoming funeral, I did bring a suitable outfit, but have decided the flannel PJ’s I bought from home are far too warm in this, to my taste over heated home, so have decided to purchase some light weight night wear.

All purchases achieved, it was then off to post a birthday card home to hopefully reach Bindy before the 22nd, it’s not the same as being there but a least she will know I’m thinking of her. Coffee time … so off to Hudson’s where they serve the largest mug of coffee I have ever come across, following that we hit Norton’s chocolatery … their name for it … where we buy up big, on the way to the car park we pass through a market square, where Pat and I decide to each purchase a small case on wheels with pull handles, to store our on-flight hand luggage, as it’s too heavy to lug around the airports during changeover flights.

Then it’s off home again where I catch up on my hand washing attend to some seedlings in Norma’s hot house, then with time to spare play a few games on the lap top until dinner, tonight menu being, sausages, potato and tomato, capsicum, onion and garlic Combo mix, followed by the usual adjourn to the lounge for some TV watching, before bed.

Tuesday … 12th … Overcast but dry

Breakfast over for Pat and I, Norma seems to have decided to cut this meal from her daily routine at the moment. Ian arrives at 9.30am to accompany his Mum to the funeral organiser’s, while they are gone, Pat washes the hard floors in the kitchen, passage and bathroom, and I vacuum the carpet in the dining area, as I has done the living room twice in three days, owing to the fact, Ian and Lindsay had bought their beautiful three year old golden Labrador named Aussie, who is shedding profusely for the second time since our arrival, thankfully it didn’t require me to do it today.

Ian and Norma return just in time for a cuppa, which we were all in the middle of enjoying when there is a knock at the door, a family friend has called to pay her condolences, and a few minutes later Norma’s friends Dot and Bert arrived, they actually drop in every few days, Bert likes to tend to the seedlings in Joe’s hot house, Norma not being a gardener, that was Joe’s domain, As the three visitors take heir leave, it’s only a matter of minutes before  Norma’s cousin and lifelong friend and her Hubby knock on the door.

With their arrival for lunch, it is decided that Ian will also stay and join us; it’s a simple meal of sandwiches, side salad along with a cheese board, fresh grapes and crackers, and to finish off Pat’s chocolate caramel slice. A well nourished Ian departs and the others adjourn to the lounge room for a coffee and family chat.

While finishing up the lunch dishes I hear the lady next door banging on the fence, trying to attract my attention, on venturing out to see what she wants, I’m handed a box of homemade chocolate éclairs and an invitation for us to call around to her home for a coffee anytime, after thanking her and informing her that Norma had guests at the moment, but assuring her I would pass the message on, I decided leave the family all chatting together, so I duck up stairs and catch up on my daily diary until I was called to say goodbye to the visitors.

It was almost dinnertime before the guess left, and as often happens they had been having coffee and nibbles most of the afternoon, so we three decided on toasted sandwiches for dinner, followed by the usual TV watching, prior to heading off bed.


Wednesday … 13th … A beautiful sunny spring day,

Woke at 4.30 am, and checked on the time home in Aus, it being early afternoon, I made a phone call to a friend, then snuggled back under the covers and slept until 8.30, a much more respectable time to get up for brekkie. Once the morning chores are finished we all pile into Norma’s car and head down to the shops, to have a browse and to pick up a couple of items from the supermarket, then we headed off to inspect the community room, where the funeral guests would be invited to join the family for a light lunch and chat after the service.

Home for a make your own lunch sandwich and drink then out into the sunshine for a sit and chat session for Pat and Norma, I chose to return to my room for some computer time.

At about 3.00pm Norma and I head of to the Doctors, Norma’s ankles are very swollen, and we all felt she should see her doctor, and as I needed a new prescription myself, I hadn’t had time before leaving the country, so made the appointment here, We hadn’t been home long when Barry came around to check on the seedlings in the hothouse, then it was coffees all round before he departed. Pat was on dinner duty today, so she cooked oat crumbed chicken breasts with chicken and yoghurt gravy as well as a tossed salad. And as we do, it was into the lounge to watch some TV before heading off to bed.