Daily Archives: June 22, 2007

Comings and goings

I have to say this is rather a nice box. I think I might have a bit of the lid next.

A couple of weeks ago, my sisters took my uncle out for a meal. He’s the last uncle (reminiscent of “The Last Melon” in the film “Ice Age”, although they treated him rather more carefully than the dodos did the melon). Being a bit of a “family-minded” family, we were delighted to discover that he’s been researching his family tree. He gave us a copy of all the work he’s done so far. He’s traced it back quite a long way so far, although the printout was a bit pale so we have a good idea of the names and dates but no trace of the lines which show how they’re all connected. It’s quite exciting, and it prompted me to register with Genes Reunited in the hope of maybe filling in Dad’s side of the tree.

Mind you, I did think my uncle might have tried a little harder to cover up the fact that there was a significant, and easily researchable, part of his family tree not yet completed. You’re right – he’d forgotten to put US on!

But here’s the exciting bit. I did my little bit of my immediate family tree. And Genes Reunited tells you whether anyone else of the same name appears on someone else’s tree. My mum appeared on my uncle’s, of course, but to my amazement two other people had someone of the same name. Coincidence. So I typed in my uncle’s name. The same two people had someone of my uncle’s name on there. So then I typed in one of my mum’s sisters. Yes, yet again. How exciting. A quick exchange of emails later and I discover that yes, these two people are indeed distant relatives. One is the great-great-great-great-great grandson of my great-great-great-great-grandfather (OK, you genealogy experts – what relationship is that?) and the other is the husband of, incredibly, my fifth cousin. I am getting quite excited about the prospect of seeing their family trees, and especially excited to see that my fifth cousin lives in the town of my birth.

It had felt quite depressing that my Dad was last of his family, and only my uncle survives of mum’s siblings. Finding unknown relations is rather a treat.

Risk of even emptier nest

I wonder if they have internet connections in prison.
I may find out soon enough. I am in danger of pulverising my youngest son.
Now bear in mind, in reading this, that two of the main features of his character are a) a tendency to get obsessive about things and b) a marked difficulty with the concept of “tact” or “subtlety”.

I signed the letter from school quite willingly when it arrived inviting my son to participate in a Science project. I declared myself willing for him to bring home a box of valuable scientific equipment, to support him in carrying out a few experiments at home, to ensure he returned the box and its contents safely on Monday morning. Let this be a lesson to me to check the small print even…. indeed, especially, on letters home from my son’s school.

I arrived home on Wednesday afternoon, accompanied by two rather special guests who were visiting for the afternoon from distant shores, to be greeted by said son crying “I am never going to eat anything from your fridge ever again – it’s unhygienic in there and I’ll get food poisoning”. Thank you, son. Apparently this science project (a really good one, in many ways, and presented really well) is funded by the Food Standards Agency. My son has to be a secret agent on the search for bugs. He has to examine my kitchen for hygiene standards. He’s measuring the temperature of my fridge – apparently a disgusting two degrees warmer than it should be (“which is against the law”, he informed me). He’s taking swabs of the work surfaces and chopping boards in the kitchen and testing them with a bug detector. He’s checking the cupboards for out of date foodstuffs, and the fridge for food incorrectly stored. He’s even taking a sample of the gunge underneath the stove and taking it back to school to analyse it under the microscope. That is, if he lives that long.

I have informed him that there’s something in our household far more dangerous than bacteria and far more to be feared……. ME, IF HE KEEPS ON LECTURING ME ABOUT THE STATE OF THE KITCHEN!

Empty nest

Yes, my baby is gone.
How ironic – a month or so ago I couldn’t wait to see the back of him, last week I was fighting back the tears at the thought of him going, and this week I spent the first few days as a total wreck, unable to think of anything but how he was doing.

We delivered him safely last Sunday. Two delightful lads had given up their entire day to watch out for his arrival and help him settle in. My sister had decided to accompany us on our visit, just in case she needed to know where the school was for any reason (just as well – she didn’t know at the time that she was going to end up volunteering to fetch him home for the summer for me!), so it was a lovely family day out and we found a delightful spot for a picnic before arriving at the school.

Tiddles was incredibly nervous – nerves and excitement all rolled into one. I can remember thinking how hard it would be simply to leave him there and drive away. As it was, it was eased by a certain circumstance – a mountain of second-hand uniform waiting in matron’s office for him, all of it needing labels sewn on. The team of two matrons, myself and a rather reluctant auntie took an hour of sewing to get it all labelled up (and all four of us chickened out of turning his trousers up and simply left them for the laundry lady with a note that they needed four inches taking off!). The benefit was that this was after we’d had our third school tour, he’d tried his uniform on, he’d found where he was sleeping… which meant he went off and played with M and M, his two new classmates, and just called back occasionally to see whether we were ready to leave yet. By 4pm he was itching to say goodbye and get on with some serious swimming in their beautiful outdoor pool, and I felt all the happier for seeing him so well settled….. in fact, I managed to drive all the way back to my sister’s before bursting into tears!

He is homesick, of course. This is quite something for a boy who has difficulty feeling his feelings. He rang me Tuesday night. It was so good to hear his voice – I’d been battling against the desire to ring matron and ask how he was! But I bravely and without a single noticeable quiver in my voice suggested he shouldn’t ring again before the weekend but should save his money and spend the time getting to know his new classmates better instead.

I do miss him, though.

Has it come to this?

How’s this for a picture of an impoverished life? I am sitting here in the dark, eating a box.
Yes, you did read that correctly. Eating a box. I finished the chocolates two days ago so there was nothing left for it this evening but to eat the box the chocolates came in. As for the dark, the lights have just fused, and it’s too dark to find where on earth I put the torch which I purchased for the express purpose of helping me see where to replace the fuse. So it looks like an early night tonight. Just as soon as I’ve updated my blog and finished my box.