Given the weather forecast, the general consensus was that we should have an early lunch in order for everyone to be able to depart for home before the Big Freeze hit us.
Mr B and I, who were hosting this auspicious occasion, could hardly argue with the sheer good sense of this, being as we alone would not be risking a difficult drive home. It was just unfortunate that
I had thought I would have at least another hour to get everything ready before our guests arrived. I would simply have to get my skates on, I informed Mr B, who looked a little alarmed at the thought of me crashing round the house like the ice skater I am
The occasion was the annual Brothers and Sisters Day, when I meet up with my siblings for an afternoon of love, laughter and reminiscences a-plenty. It was
too much to expect our brother in Scotland to make the long journey south, especially as he had joined us only fairly recently so there were just three of us, with our respective partners. As Mr B forecast, with his usual command of the obvious, there was
no danger of our jaws rusting…
I had warned our visitors that they would need to take us as they found us, on account of the fact that the Door Widening
Project has turned our house upside down. I did my best with broom, mop and duster but I’m not sure that my best was good enough. In addition, there has been no point in putting up Christmas decorations until our friendly workmen depart for good and
all - so we are not looking even remotely festive. I did, however, manage to find myself the perfect Christmas jumper with the word “Jolly” on the front. Short for Jolly Girl, I am sure. Moreover this jumper, like dogs, is not just for Christmas
- I will be donning it with pride for the annual Jolly Girls Outing in February.
I was forgetting, of course, that family doesn’t care about a bit
of domestic upheaval or the lack of glittery decorations - the only thing that matters is the company. And, if this were to be a slightly shortened afternoon due to the threat of bad weather - well, we would all simply have to talk twice as fast.
With a lot of helping hands, I manage to present the dinner (meat pie, mashed potatoes and mixed veg - I know you like the details) to the table at exactly 12.45 p.m. Everyone
complimented me on the pie, even though I had experienced some difficulty lifting the pastry over the meat. I used to be so good at that, too, wrapping the pastry over the rolling pin in order to transfer it to the dish it was to cover. Where did that all
go wrong? I had to piece the pastry together, making what could be described as a Patchwork Pie. Mr B - sounding a bit like the judges on Masterchef - said the only thing that mattered was the taste. Hopefully it would be “flavoursome.”
My sister in law, Jean, made the mistake of asserting that she had no time for new technology. My brother in law, Barrie, took this as a personal challenge so that every
time the discussion ventured into anything remotely connected with communications, he would say: “See, Jean, technology!” Could he, I wondered later, have engineered the conversation in the direction of Matters Technological?
So much to talk about, so many stories to tell, especially bringing each other up to date on the lives of our children and grandchildren. It was dark and rainy as our visitors left
for home and I was more than a little relieved when I heard - by phone and by WhatsApp - that both parties were home safe and sound.
Brothers and Sisters.
We share something so very special, something that shaped the people we are today. Something nobody else has been lucky enough to have shared.