|Today we will make a surprise visit to my Cousin Stephanie’s place. As I have mentioned it has been 38 years since I have seen any of these people, and I am always a little apprehensive about meeting them.
Stephanie’s place is a five minute drive away. She has been living here for many years. The place itself is well over 70 years old, but quite a lot of renovation has been done to it. It is one house in a row of attached houses that is very typical of housing here in Shirley, well in much of the UK actually.
We knock on the front door and as Stephanie comes to the door Uncle Jim announces that he has had guests staying at his place and we are calling to surprise her. She is surprised, but recognises me straight away. No hesitation. I did not have the same experience but within a few minutes I was able to pick her as a Goddard.
Stephanie’s home is very tidy and well kept. We talk the normal stuff, what have you been up to, family, kids, grandkids, spouses, etc. Tea and talk for a while. Stephanie’s husband Michael is due home for lunch and she will soon be wanting to get on with that. She prefers that visitors are gone by the time Michael gets home.
Anyway it is time for us to be going on to our next appointment. Lunch! We head off to a carvery at a place called Robin Hood. We are looking forward to a good old English carved meal. We are soon there and seated. The place is cool. The walls are festooned with the old rude beach style postcards, heavy in double entomb; big breasted females with 1940 & 50s style hair and clothing. There are hundreds of them and they are still as funny today as they were in yesteryear.
The meal consists of your choice of carved meat (gammon, beef or turkey) and “help yourself to vegetables” self service area. Complete with several different types of gravy, Yorkshire pudding and sauces. The result is a piled plate of Sunday lunch.
That done and we are absolutely stuffed. Uncle Jim was very naughty as he went up and paid for us all. But it was a lovely thought.
All done we jumped back into the car and drove the short distance to Shirley Main Road (Main Stratford Road) and a wee walk up and down. We visited a couple of shops, including Auntie Pats all time favourite “Marks and Spencers”. I managed to get a beautiful covert photograph of Uncle Jim and Auntie Pat walking along together. After all these years the two of them still looked right for each other and the sharing and caring was obvious in the way they were together.
We headed back to the house where Mrs Marple, Pierrot and Inspector Morse helped us through the rest of the day until tea time.
Tea done and cleaned away we jumped into our wee car and headed off to the Harvester Pub to meet my Uncle Larry. This is the youngest of my Dad’s brothers. I would not have recognised him if I had walked passed him in the street, and I feel that he would have been the same. He endeared himself to me by stating first up that I was as fat as my brother Mark! The evening was then a course of reminiscences and anecdotes of my Father and his brothers and their endless scrapes with various government departments, not least of which was the local constabulary.
I must admit that where I got on very well with Uncle Jim, and was very comfortable around him, the opposite was the case with Uncle Larry. But the evening was pleasant enough and soon became a goodbye and “I wish you well” with a photograph to prove that I had been there, but no real desire to go there again.
Back to Uncle Jims and a little more TV before bed.