Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Welsh Boreders

We'd hit the jackpot on the Buckley Bingo within the first 3 hours of arriving at the quasi-in-laws which meant that Jack & I spent much of the weekend having to avoid eye contact with one another. I've learnt from past experience that there is no point in trying to introduce new topics of conversation as it just sends them into a silent panic, so we made appropriate noises as they executed their much-rehearsed script about America, Michael Owen and Bon Jovi.

I dipped out for bed as soon as it was polite to do so and proceeded to have some unusually vivid dreams concerned mainly with the imminent collision of the Earth with Mars, being given a beautiful black fur hearth rug only to find it had been made from Darius and being persecuted by paranormal phenomena in my home. Not that I'm saying the weekend was a complete nightmare.

I escaped long enough on Sunday morning to fetch a paper. That in itself caused much consternation. Completing the cryptic crossword in less than 15 minutes was tantamount to witchcraft in their eyes. I chose not to push for anything mildly cultural or stimulating for the rest of the day and happily tagged along to Chester, valiantly resisting any attempts to get over to the recently excavated amphitheatre or along the city walls.

The evening held some promise as a family friend, up from the New Forest for the weekend, was due to visit. In the event, they didn't let it spoil their enjoyment of the Beckham's party on their cinema-sized plasma screen, they just joined her in the conversation whenever there was a shot of a celebrity who wasn't Michael Owen while I tried doggedly to enquire about the ponies.

Jack braced himself for the inevitable visit to his father on Monday, handing me his wallet, chain and anything else of value in much the same way as he does before a rugby match. Meanwhile, his auntie took me to the garden centre, one of those vast aircraft-hangarsized places where you have to walk past miles of scented candles, floral notepaper, amusingly-patterned jumpers, fridge-magnets and objets d'art before you catch the merest hint of anything green and living. I bought some twisty spiky things to ram into my sweet-pea pots. She bought a book! Honest to God! Maybe I am having a greater influence than I erstwhile suspected. Ok - so it was Michael Owen's spectro-biography ( I am guessing that having shared a similar primary education to most of them, he wasn't likely to have written it himself) but at least it contained proper Chapters and not just articles and Advertising Promotions.

She'd saved the best 'til last. As we headed back to pick up our hold-alls and bid them farewell for another 6 months, I noticed she took a slightly different route. I wasn't particularly concerned as we appeared to be heading in the general direction of home and I supposed it to be a shortcut. I did wonder why we were slowing at the edge of a new housing estate, and then coming to a stop before a nondescript cul-de-sac. Yep! The Owen Family village, just round the corner from the Owen Family pub, the Owen Family barbers and the Owen Family Co-op. I'm so relieved we managed to cram that into a weekend busy with tea-drinking, telly-watching and dishwasher-stacking. It will be fascinating to go back and see what seasonal changes have occurred next time we venture across the Pennines, that's if she's still allowed within 50yds of any members of the Owen Family by then.

It's the long car journeys back from Wales when Jack and I do our strongest bonding.

NB. Picture courtesy of Google Images. It cannot be used as evidence in any future privacy actions.


Blogger Pete said...

sounds like rip rolling fun to me,

frankly though doing a cryptic crossword is witchcraft to me

10:09 pm  
Blogger Boo said...

Never mind, it's over now ('til the next time!) Has she been cautioned about stalking?

12:34 am  
Blogger andrea said...

Reminds me of my own early in-law experiences. It wasn't so much that they were being rude (which they often were); it's just that they couldn't get past the vocabulary to even guess what I was talking about. (They weren't good at context clues.) I'd better stop before I say too much...

3:00 am  
Blogger Frontier Editor said...

Welcome back. Your travelogue reminded me of my own misspent early childhood in Cornwall - probably one of my happier times in life.

Dear God I hope it wasn't because of the sheep . . . .

6:08 am  
Blogger tom909 said...

I thought Michael looked a bit out of touch in the game last night - any comment from the in laws on that one yet.

10:58 am  
Blogger Kate said...

What a delightful weekend, can I come next time? They do sound like wonderful people.

Actually, they do remind me a little of my own former in-laws. Odd people. The first time they came to visit me, they were amazed to discover I owned books, and read them too!

12:54 pm  
Blogger Quietman said...

Oh dear, that dream suggests stress. Unless you had cheese for your supper. I've always been surprised by the popularity of the relatively expensive LSD when when a nice strong Wensleydale just before bed is sufficient for a few hours of mind alteration.

Now, at the risk of hijacking the thread, I would like to ask some of the birdy type folks who frequent this site about a bird I see a lot over here in Dublin. Mallard sized, with a drake Mallard head, but a brown body and a prominent white chest. It tends to hang around with the Mallards and the Drake Mallards spend a lot of time chasing it from their females. I thought it might be a hybrid or a feral but I see quite a few of them. Any ideas?

1:32 pm  
Blogger Joyce said...

I confess I had to google "Michael Owen". And isn't it always a treat when the celebrities are the guests of honour (via the plasma screen) while you were just there as a quasi-relative?! (I mean, real people they can see any time, but TV people?!)

3:31 pm  
Blogger Cherrypie said...

Pete - don't worry. I can't imagine I'd ever dabble with board games by post. Each to their own.

Boo - she should be!

Andrea - yep! I know exactly what you are talking about

6:10 pm  
Blogger Cherrypie said...

Fronty - are you one of us then, albeit an ex-pat, exile, escapee or whatever you want to call yourself. No wonder I like the way you right.

I'm sure you'll be able to find the answer you're looking for, perhaps in Idaho.

Tom - just silence. They won't hear anything bad said about The Boy Wonder. It was probably a result of inferior performances by his team mates, just not up to his standard.

6:13 pm  
Blogger Cherrypie said...

Kate - I'm willing to pay you to go INSTEAD of me

Quietman - no cheese ( for a change), which may well have been the problem.

I'm surprised Pete hasn't identified your bird yet. I'll drive home via my local reserve and see if I can get any inspiration as to what it might be

6:15 pm  
Blogger Cherrypie said...

Joyce - I apologise for putting you to such trouble for such a dull result. As you can probably guess, he's from the same village as Jack's Dad and once played football with his grandad on the village green. Not a lot happens in Wales.

6:17 pm  
Blogger Cherrypie said...

By the way, Quietman, glad you've found your voice. A lovely scottish brogue was just what this blog was lacking x

6:18 pm  
Blogger Frontier Editor said...

I don't want to find any answers in Idaho.

Father was U.S. Navy, stationed in beautiful downtown RAF St. Mawgan. I'm pretty sure I didn't have any relations with sheep, but the therapists over here have a strange talent for getting you to remember memories that weren't.

"Was it good for you?"

"Not baaaaaaad"

6:44 pm  
Blogger Carmenzta said...

I've been to Idaho, and believe me there are no answers there, not even regarding sheep.

Cherry, welcome back. You Brits always have trips to very colorful and historic-sounding places. I envy that since on this side of the puddle, every town looks like every other town. MacDonalds, Wendy's, Gap, Pier One, Starbucks every 5 blocks...

7:27 pm  
Blogger Melora said...

I'm with Joyce, and had to Google him. Now I know. Since they are going to be watching television while you visit, would they object if you read? I used to do that while visiting similarly convivial ex-relatives. I hope this weekend fulfilled your yearly obligation?

9:19 pm  
Blogger Cherrypie said...

I knew it had been a hard day but hadn't realised I was so tired that I got "write" and "right" wrong - duh! Thank you for not pointing it out loudly and with much laughter, Fronty. You can be an honorary Cornish Yarg if you like.

Carmentza - most places are as you describe your towns, it just I don't bother mentioning those. I am lucky to live close to Lincoln though, which is very beautiful, and York's only an hour away so I'm never far away from somewhere lovely.

Melora - I did spend most of my weekend with my head in a Jeffrey Steingarten book ( hardback) which I had found for 70p, brand new in TK Maxx. I was thrilled. They were very suspicious of my motives.

10:12 pm  
Blogger Frontier Editor said...

bread, meat and beer, that's me!

11:12 pm  
Blogger Quietman said...

I don't wear brogues.

10:23 am  
Blogger Cherrypie said...

QM - did it have a flat funnny beak? Could it be a shoveller? Otherwise I think you've got yourself a handful of hybrids and one very satisfied mallard.

10:47 am  
Blogger homo escapeons said...

My Word!
If you cannot get rid of the family skeleton, you may as well make it dance.
George Bernard Shaw
Oh Oh Oh Can I come next time!?

1:54 pm  
Blogger cream said...

Cherrybabe, If you start paying people to go instead of you, you're gonna be Owen a lotta lolly out!0}

2:27 pm  
Anonymous Beki said...

Don't worry about the dream, we have time to enjoy ourselves before the earth-mars collison as according to the song from High Society it's due next July, if I recall the lyrics correfctly!

12:19 am  

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