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!