20 members of the same family in the same house for 3 days and it wasn’t even Christmas?!
We approached the long weekend with some trepidation to say the least. We’d be spending time with aunts, uncles and cousins that we rarely see and some partners that we’d never even met. But my Dad was turning 65 and he wanted his entire family together to help celebrate.
Mum, Dad, #1, her husband and niece and nephew, #2 and her boyfriend, O and I. Dad’s brother and his wife. Dad’s sister, her husband, her eldest son, his partner and their 8 month old son, her youngest son, his partner and her 7 year old daughter
We arrived in dribs and drabs on Friday night to a huge house on the outskirts of Keswick that had once been used as a B and B. We chose our room, made ourselves some dinner and caught up with family members as they arrived. The rugby world cup was still on and England had a big game against France the next day. Some of the family decided to go for a rugby breakfast at the nearby pub. O decided as the only one likely to be supporting France he would stay away from the pub and watch the game in our room where he was relatively safe to shout “vive la France”.
By the time we got up the next day, had breakfast and the others were back from the pub plans had begun to emerge. The immediate family Mum, Dad #1, #2 and me with our respective attachments were going to go for a walk around Keswick. #1 had got a treasure trail guide which basically took us on a long walk through Keswick but we had some purpose in our random wanderings. Aunts and Uncles went their separate ways for different walks and trips to car boot sales. The weather was not ideal so we were wrapped up with scarves, gloves and waterproofs to keep off the rain. Back to the house for lunch and a lazy afternoon. Dad’s sister and her family being from Leeds are huge rugby league fans and it was the challenge cup final so that evening they found a pub showing the game and stayed there until dinner time. Plenty of rugby for one day!
The photo on the left is the right way up. Trust me
family stroll through the park
#2 had contacted a local chef who came to the house and made us a delicious meal and did the washing up, which meant that everyone could relax. (although given the size of the supermarket shop my parent’s had delivered we could have fed all of us for quite some time). Wine was consumed and we began to relax with each other, family stories were told, some more shocking than others. We realised just how much we still missed our grandparents. It was strange and a little sad in a way to see my father in his role as the patriarch of the family. My Dad opened his birthday cards and he blew out the candles on his cake (which I spent Friday making), unfortunately we were all far too full for cake after the huge pudding the chef had made so it didn’t get cut until the next day.
The chef made a huge batch of cinder toffee (the inside of a Crunchie)
On the Sunday morning some of the family had to leave to get back for work on Monday so we reduced the numbers by 6. After saying goodbye everyone again went their own ways and made their own plans. Although we were in a stunning part of the country O decided he wanted to visit the beach. I wouldn’t recommend the beaches in that part of England or certainly not the beach at Maryport. It was an extremely industrial and rather grey and bleak. Although it was fun to reminisce with my Mum who’s Dad used to frequently travel to Maryport from Newcastle sometimes taking her with him. Again the weather was poor so we hurried to warm up back at the house. I was starting to come down with a cold at this point so wanted to be warm and cosy. We spent the rest of the afternoon doing a really hard jigsaw, each taking turns at different bits. Remembering how big granddad (Dad’s dad) used to love doing jigsaws and how little granddad (Mum’s dad) used to always hide one piece so he could put the last bit in.
That evening we took #2’s boyfriend to the train station so he could also get back for work on the Monday. We put some pies in the oven and made simple vegetables and again ate around the enormous table which was in the dining room. That evening we played card games, chatted about our grandparents/parents laughing at different memories, how when my cousins had been with my Nana she had always talked about my sisters and I and then vice versa, she would always chat about my cousins when with us. We also doggedly kept going at the damn jigsaw and it soon became clear that we were not going to bed until it was completed.
The next morning there was a bedlam of packing and trying to share out the huge amount of leftover food. My cold had well and truly hit. We went to rheged for a hot drink and chats with #2 and my parents before #2 had to go and get the train. On the way home we popped in and visited Rebecca, the second time we’ve gone to visit her lovely home and I’ve been full of cold so have coughed and sniffed on her sofa. Should perhaps visit at the start of a trip before I fall ill rather than at the end.
The weekend had been a huge success much more relaxed than anticipated because everyone made their own plans and came and went as they pleased. We came together for meals and spent a lot of time chatting through happy memories.
intense jigsaw action
Photos by O. Me or nephew