When I last wrote we were expecting Mairi and Alex to call in for lunch on their way back to Scotland on Tuesday. They did, we fed them on cassoulet and Tesco’s gluten free Victoria sponge (very yummy, both) and there were many laughs and great conversation. We are hoping that they and Mairi’s sister, Issie and her partner Gavin will come and join us on the boat.
And late Wednesday morning it was off to Surrey, via Banbury to shop for a shirt and pair of trousers for David. It was lovely seeing the canal there from a pedestrian’s viewpoint – the juxtaposition of the shopping area and quay has been beautifully executed, and the visitor moorings there are excellent. The drive down to Leatherhead was quick and always make me realise how slowly life goes past on the canal – travelling at 70mph on the motorway felt like the speed of light! And there to meet us was my lovely Auntie Molly – 87 (and a half, she declares) and hardly changed since I first met her with my mum back in 1988.
When we go to see Molly we stay in the guest room at Montgomery House – it costs us the princely sum of £8 per night, lower than its sister place (Silvercourt) across the way where the cost is £10 because our room doesn’t have an en suite bathroom …
On Thursday we had dinner in Dorking with my cousin Tonya and my cousin Tony. Tonya’s dad was my mum’s (and Molly’s) brother Ron, and Tony’s mum is mum’s (and Molly’s) sister Joyce. Joyce is 94 and quite poorly at the moment and has been in hospital since May. Tony is over from Tasmania sorting out nursing home care for her. He comes to visit his mum twice a year and thinks this may be the last time.
Tony and Tonya hadn’t seen each other for many years so it was good to get them together. We met at the restaurant and had told Tonya that Tony would be carrying a bag of books, so she was able to identify him and when we saw them they were hugging – how very un-British! Every time we get together with Tonya or with any cousins we learn more about Mum’s family – as we emigrated to NZ back in 1953 (my mum and dad had to take me, they weren’t allowed to leave me behind) we never knew the aunts and cousins. And seeing them regularly and getting to know them since 1988 when mum and I came over to visit has been really lovely.
We have arranged for Tony to come and join us on the boat for a few days – he could do with some time off mother-care and sorting out his mum’s bedsit. He’s an exemplary son.
We had a call from Kirsty early one morning at Molly's - she is in Bali for a holiday with her friend Katie, and was due to head back to Sydney last Thursday. However an ash cloud (from the volcano that erupted back in July in Java) is hovering over Denpasar airport and she was trapped in paradise, as David described it. She thought an injection of cash prior to refunds from the airline, may be in order. That has been arranged and when I last spoke to her she and Katie were drinking bloody marys at the bar waiting to check in to a cheaper hotel - as she said 'what's not to like?' Always the healthy choice, our Kirsty - a drink that is almost all (!) tomato juice ...