To start off this half term we all three of us headed off down to Birmingham for a little last minute surprise family party.
Not my side of the family - I've only got Molly, Louise, Mom & Dad on my side plus an aunt and uncle and two cousins I haven't seen since I was 15 or so. This was Louise's side of the family. From back in the day when being a good Irish Catholic meant 25 years of pregnancy and if there were less than 10 children the priest wanted a written explaination for a 30 year old woman.
This was her Aunt Delia's 70th birthday party, who was one of 14? 15? brothers and sisters.
We all met at the Jeweller's Arms in the Jewellery Quarter, owned by one of Louise's uncles and met not only the surviving five brothers and sisters, but a host of relatives from all over Britain, Ireland, the US and Canada.
As is usual with all of these family events, I stay on the sidelines and pretend I remember all of these people's names. I'm actually getting very good at putting on the facade of a good memory now. Louise was particularly mpressed when I leapt up to shake one family memeber's hand, effused about the party and how wonderful Delia was looking, asked after his family etc etc. Then I sat down and casually asked Louise who the hell it was.
But apart from the identity problems, it was a very good night. All three of us went along and decamped to a hotel across town for the night.
After breakfast and a bit of shopping it was off to the parents where Molly and Louise had a great time and I sat upstairs fighting with Dad's computer and his terrifyingly bad dial up connection. I'd forgotten just how slow it used to be. Unfortunately I had no choice as it was time to do a little housekeeping on his system; new anti-virus, firewall, anti-spyware and then finally, a new email program.
It took all bloody night. Download after download of updates for programs, all on dial-up. Horrible. But it is done now and hopefully all is working well. Which is good as we were all convinced that we'd get a phone call tonight complaining about something and wondering how on earth dad's managed to destroy the settings already.
This is a great skill that dad has; the ability to magically affect the settings applied to something or other. He's got a great talent for it.
But now we're all safely back home. And it's lovely to be back.
Thoughts on Birmingham tomorrow when I've woken up.