This morning we were in for a Special Treat. A Performance, no less.
The three performers were my three great-nephews, Daniel, Jay and Ben, all aged between 6 and 8. There
was great anticipation at the breakfast table as we considered the exciting possibilities ahead of us. Apparently The Performance was to be loosely based on X Factor, with Jay playing the part of Simon Cowell. "Who is playing Cheryl Cole?" enquired Daniel's
Mum, artlessly. None of the young performers seemed inclined to provide her with an answer. I find that selective hearing is often employed by small fry. Almost as much as by Mr B.
We gathered in the front
room, squeezing up as necessary on the sofa. You couldn't argue with the level of our support. Daniel's mum, Paula, even dragged herself away from the 1000 piece jigsaw which she is endeavouring to complete by tomorrow morning in order to win a bet with her
fella. I had been lending limited assistance last night, which resulted in me going to bed dreaming of giant puzzle pieces which wouldn't fit. This morning I found a stray piece on the carpet by my bed, where presumably it had been transported on the sole
of my slipper. Unless Mr B had been plotting to sabotage Paula's efforts. I wouldn't totally put it past him.
Still, for the next ten to fifteen minutes, the jigsaw (subject: "The Station") was left unattended,
trains without their funnels, passengers missing legs or arms, at least one platform still to be located from within the box of unplaced puzzle pieces, while we watched the proceedings. It was, shall we say, a Most Energetic Performance. X Factor (on my admittedly
limited acquaintance) appears quite lack-lustre in comparison.
There was a lot of jumping, spinning, acrobatics, forward rolls and backward flips. It was both exhilarating and a trifle dangerous in a rather
exciting way. I was somewhat at a disadvantage as I didn't recognise any of the latest hit songs which provided the musical accompaniment. My current pop knowledge is Sadly Lacking. I need to decide if this is something I should remedy or whether I can live
without knowing the latest hits and the people who warble them. I did recognise Gangnam Style, having once been to a Christmas party with the Little Welsh Boys where this was played from the start to the finish. "Oh, no!" groaned Daniel's Grandad (who also
happens to be my brother.) I gather he always says that when this particular song is announced.
I was impressed by the fact that the boys had downloaded all the music for their Performance onto a tablet. I
couldn't help recalling that, when the Little Welsh Boys put on their famous Puppet Show last summer, the musical accompaniment had been provided by my musical box, playing a slightly scratchy version of Return to Sorrento. It would never have done for this
At the end of our very own X Factor show, Jay (aka Simon Cowell, you remember - do keep up, won't you?) came forward with the "scores on the doors" and announced that Daniel was the
winner, by dint of having executed several acrobatic movements more cleanly than Ben. I was very relieved that we hadn't had to vote on it.
The Performance was just one of the highlights of a very special
weekend with my two brothers and sister. Our "Brothers and Sisters Day" is an annual event - but this year was extra one special, being joined by members of the next generation - and the next. At one time our party numbered four grandads and three grandmothers
(all going by various names, in my case answering to several) with an assortment of children and grandchildren. It's all about continuity, the Brothers and Sisters Day.
We enjoyed delicious meals, courtesy
of my sister and her fella, played "Tommy" and "Coin in a Bottle" (I, alone, didn't manage to drop even one five pence coin into the empty Gordon's Gin bottle, it was Somewhat Shameful), and chatted. And chatted. And chatted. As Mr B likes to say, there was
No Danger Of Our Jaws Rusting.
Our dear Mum would be so pleased with us, keeping up a family tradition which she started many years ago with her own brothers and sisters. I lost count of the number of her
famous sayings which were trotted out by one or other of us over the course of the weekend. Mind you, our memories played tricks with us - on more than one occasion one of us would come out with a story, only to be told that it never happened that way at all.
Daniel, Jay and Ben have hardly seen each other before - and there they were on X Factor! Next time they meet, they may stage a repeat performance in the interests of, yes indeed, continuity. They might even allow Ben
to be Simon Cowell next time around.
Before we left for home this morning, I wrote out a family tree of the direct Usher line for young Daniel - starting with his five times great grandfather, born around
the 1790s. Who was also named Daniel. Coincidence? Or continuity?
Family - there's nothing quite like it.