Friday, 27 April 2012

The Rain it Raineth Every Day

Morning all! I had to look up the quote in the title and, of course, was delighted to be reminded that it was from Feste, the fool in Twelfth Night which is appropriate since it was Shakespeare's birthday this week (on the same day at St George's Day) and I spent a lot of my teenage years in Stratford upon Avon, probably acting the fool myself. I'm not being picky about the 'upon Avon' bit but usually now when people mention Stratford, they are referring to the Olympics.

Anyway, back to the rain for which we must accept some responsibility in this house. You see, every time my beloved goes away for an appreciable length of time we get weather. Not the normal stuff we get which in Yorkshire is usually a selection of all four seasons in one day but proper, big stuff. When my beloved goes to Las Vegas in January, we generally have to dig ourselves out through the snow and now, on his first ever trip to Pittsburg, he has provided us with a month's rain in a week. In our house, where sport is very much a feature, especially at this time of year, we have been rained off cricket, golf, tennis and cycling and had it not been for pilates and indoor tennis there would have been climbing of the walls, by me anyway. We've also been carbooted off but that is, as they say, another story.

The other thing is that this is an old house and when it rains, it leaks. Earlier in the week, to cap a very tricky day - tricky because number 4 had to hand in her graphics coursework for her GCSE and the computer was not behaving in an appropriate manner - number 3 informed me that rainwater was running through the downlighter in the bathroom. Luckily it was running straight into the sink therefore negating the requirement for a bucket but with two leaks already in the conservatory and the boiler room leaking so much that large amounts of plastic are permanently placed over all the electricity controls for the central heating, this was not looking good. I half expected a selection of indigenous animals to be pairing up and lining up ready to join us for a cruise across the flooded plains of North Yorkshire.

Anyway, today my beloved returns and already the skies are lightening - although I believe the pitch is so waterlogged that there will still be no cricket again this weekend ... though there might be tennis - so clearly he is responsible. Incidentally, twenty eight years ago tomorrow it was a wonderful, hot, sunny day and we are about to celebrate yet another wedding anniversary. This will be followed next week by the twins' 16th birthdays - unbelievable, how did that happen? And then number 2 will have her birthday the following week, but she is feeling a bit sensitive about her age to which the only response is clearly: wait till you get to fifty something.

So off to walk the dogs now (who are fast developing webbed feet) and resisting the urge to wear any of the several wetsuits which are still on my office floor because we couldn't carboot them last week due to ... yes, the rain cancelling the carboot sale. Meanwhile I have been enjoying a spot of Fawlty Towers on Youtube, so here's the link: Any similarities between members of the cast and our dear friends who run the best B&B in the Lake District are entirely deliberate!

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

The peace that passes all understanding...

On Easter Monday evening, we (my beloved and I plus three of the four children and one granny) found ourselves at our local pub for an early supper. Our lovely friends from our village had decided to do likewise and were there with two of their three offspring plus a brace of grannies. They, like us, had realised that they really needed not to cook another meal. In fact, they had totalled up that they had served over 50 meals during the Easter break and we were probably not far behind. In fact, my beloved was quite happy to rustle up a curry on Monday night but I couldn't face the ensuing mess in the kitchen and so we ate out on the largesse of the resident granny.

We are usually packed to the gunnels at Easter and Christmas with all four children home plus a boyfriend and a granny. Luckily this time no-one brought their pets as well because that does precipitate a sense of humour failure on my part. Anyway we had also had a visit from the other granny and her husband so we had done the family thing big style.

Today I put the granny on the train back to the Midlands and I and my little house on the prairie heaved a sigh of relief that we are now back to normal population-wise - two parents, two teenagers, two dogs and yes, daughter number 2 who has come back home for a while. And although it is Easter and not Christmas it made me think about the innkeeper in the Nativity.

Imagine, if you will, you learn that thousands of people are about to turn up in your town and that you are the proud owner of Bethlehem's equivalent of the Hotel du Vin. Great, you think to yourself, we'll spruce up the rooms, maybe slap on a mud hut extension and then we'll pack them in for the great taxpaying weekend and make a pile. And then, of course, you hear that your mother-in-law will be coming and will need a room and that is quickly followed by all the members of your extended family who all have to be in Bethlehem for the taxation jamboree. Suddenly your great moneymaking enterprise in which you have already made a considerable investment in art deco light fittings and shower attachments is being overrun with relatives who expect to stay gratis. So when the very expectant lady in blue and her rather harassed husband turn up you wonder which of your relatives you can turn out of their luxury accommodation, only to realise that, actually, if anyone gets asked to move there will be the mother and father of all family rows. Personally I feel sorry for him. And if any more of Noah's relatives had turned up we probably wouldn't have zebras (actually if his sons had been single, we probably would still have unicorns).

So here we are, after another big family weekend which was great fun, relaxing back into what passes for normal in this house, and very nice it is too.

So a quick update (in case you missed it on facebook) of the annual Easter egg hunt: 96 eggs were hidden in the garden very early on Sunday morning, after the church service on the top green in the village at 6.15am and breakfast in the small hall. Child number 4 was the runaway winner with child 2 coming in second and complaining bitterly that her younger sibling had been aided by the official referee. The stewards' enquiry rejected that accusation and the result stands. Number 1's boyfriend came a very creditable third - but he is training for the London Marathon and so is fairly nifty on his pins - with number 1 returning in fourth place. Child 3, however, proved that last year's win was a complete fluke and failed to find his quota of eggs which means there are more for me to find when I'm gardening for the next few weeks.

We are now rushing headlong into the tennis, cricket and GCSE season and are hoping for success in all three - it may kill me!