Happy times, Part Two

Published July 16, 2015 by Jackie

A continuation of my lovely days spent with my delightful nieces…

Back in May, I reported about our family wedding, and that there were going to be some meet-ups off the back of this. This weekend, I’m heading up to meet my wee great-niece for the first time, tho she’s now two and a half (the half is very important when you are two and a half!). With any luck, I shall get a lift north with nephew 2 and his girlfriend, and take the train back, it’s just a day trip…

Meanwhile, we arranged to meet up last week with nephew 2 and his girlfriend and their wee dog, while the girls were here. So we decided to meet up. Nephew offered a couple of options ~ at the time they sounded difficult to get to, so I’d suggested somewhere accessible by bus for us, the beach at Portobello. Turns out they have a car, and came to pick us up!

Girls were very excited about meeting a dog in our family, there aren’t many. I think we were all a little underwhelmed, as far from being an exciteable wee thing, he’s well trained and independent, does his own thing and no misbehaving when meeting other dogs, barely needed his lead. It was good to spend more time with C and his girlfriend though, we had a tasty pub lunch after an hour on of bracing sea air along the prom, and a couple of hours of chatter and Connect4 before being dropped back home where we had an evening of old family photos.

I inherited the box of photos from my mum, and I think she had inherited her sister’s photos too. I must go through them again, there were so many that I had NO idea who or where they were, and even I was getting mixed up, my grandmother and her sister looked very alike! And there were so few photos of me, and their dad, but lots of the girls as babies, and their big-boy cousins too! But there were some of their dad’s graduation, age 21, with me, age about 24 looking completely different! And some of their uncle, my older brother, who died before they were born. It’s good to share some of those memories, pass them on.

Our last full day together was spent in the company of my friend L. I’d kind of planned this, as E has artistic ambitions, and L is a working artist. She picked us up late morning, and we took what turned out to be the scenic route to Falkirk, to visit the Kelpies and then have lunch up at the Falkirk Wheel. Man those Kelpies are photogenic, it proved impossible to take a bad photo, and they are MASSIVE!

As we were driving between the two sites, I realised we’d be passing the Camelon crematorium, and although my mother lived in Northumberland, she’d asked for her ashes to be taken to where my father’s were placed in Camelon. That exercise had proved incredibly easy at the time, and the spot was very easy to locate, with help from the staff, who even opened up the plot to place mum’s ashes in. Visiting graves is not necessarily something I approve of, I thing the best memorial is in the hearts of the people who knew that person, so I’ve not made an effort to visit since, but here we were passing, and here was a chance to pass on that location to the youngest people at my mother’s funeral.

And then, L took us through the town, and on up to Brightons, above Polmont, which is where we spent our childhood. The house looks so small, but really, it housed six of us, plus at one point, my paternal grandmother, though I hardly remember her. We posed for a few photos, and sent some on to the girls parents.

Living there, in that house on that road, seems so long ago, which of course it was, it’s over 40 years since we left. The house is the same, the street is very similar, but the open spaces we played in nearby are long built over, though the big park up the road is even better than ever, lovely landscaping under the mature trees that I remember as bramble- and rubbish-filled. But it was a good place to grow up.

Finally, L took us to her home to see the paintings that were about to leave for her latest exhibition, which will preview this weekend, and is in Alnmouth, which is where my mother spent her last 25 years, having lived there in her youth too.

The girls just remember visiting, and would love to go back one day. As it happens, I renewed some connections in advance of the exhibition, and will meet up with one of my mum’s neighbours this weekend at the event. Who knows, maybe a day trip there next year?

I’d intended to spend my last evening with the girls at the cinema, and actually, we did! But there was a problem with the film, or rather no digital key to unlock it, so we got a full refund, some complementary tickets, and took ourselves to the Filmhouse instead, where there was nothing suitable screening either, so we just bought a Pedro Almodovar dvd instead. Kept quiet about that one, it was a 15 and probably not suitable for E, but it was an amusing if rather dark comedy about revenge, and we enjoyed it! When pushed, we simply said we’d watched Blancanieves, which we’d actually watched the night before…

On the last day, while I tidied up, the girls went off on a trawl of the local charity shops. There wasn’t anything that took their fancy so we left earlier than planned for the station, and popped into Bon Papillon for one of Stuart’s fantastic bacon rolls. Oh how I’ve missed those bacon rolls, our knit group only meets there once a month now, and I’ve missed the last two, and will miss the next one too! E had specifically requested a visit, as there is always a box off offcuts of mounting board, which she loves to draw on.

And then they were gone… and the house was peaceful and calm again, and I miss them already! But I shall see them in September, when we have a few days alone together in London, when their parents take a wee break.

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