Family Gathering in Poole.

After a comfortable night in Aaron’s bed (he was relegated to the loft) I woke before Billy and went downstairs for coffee and breakfast before bringing Billy a coffee. Since the shower was empty, I then used it so it would be free for everyone else to get ready in time for church at 10.30am. (Helen and Mike went to the gym early and showered there, so there were only 5 of us needing the shower, which helped.)

Everyone looked very smart – and I was glad I’d brought along a maxi-dress as my legs were absolutely black with bruises I hadn’t realised I’d acquired the day before. After a short walk, we arrived at the church and briefly saw people before the service. It was a normal Sunday morning service but with Olivia being the guest of honour – and she was very good throughout.

Afterwards, we went to the Church hall to have a buffet lunch, relax and meet everyone properly. Let me introduce the cast:

Billy and Raji’s dad (Robert) was Judy’s cousin.
Judy (married to Gerry) is mum of Dave and Mike.
Mike is married to Helen, and they have two sons, Aaron (18) and Joe (17).
Dave is married to (another!) Judy, they live in America and had Olivia, 8 months ago.

Helen, Mike, Aaron and Joe, we have stayed with before and they’ve visited us. Similarly, Judy and Gerry are familiar as both hosts and visitors. ( Here, and here for example.) All of them are absolutely wonderful people and we love them. They were all particularly supportive too, at a time Billy and Raji needed it, before I knew them, and it’s made them very close. Happily for me, they’ve taken me into the family readily and I too, love them and feel close.

Because they live in America, I’d never met Judy and Dave before though I have got on well with them on Facebook, which has been nice. This was my first time of meeting them and it was great to do so at last. Whether it’s because of being family and very like the others, or whether it’s because of knowing them though Facebook, it already felt like I knew them so it was very comfortable and easy. As for Olivia, she’s an absolute little star – she was so good and more so when you consider she’d already spent a week in Slovakia with her maternal family.

The other thing to mention about this side of the family is that they are not short! Have a look at the photos – bear in mind that at 5’8″ I am not used to being the smallest member of a party (Olivia and (Granny)Judy were the only two shorter than me!) and that Billy is 6′ 3″ – and there was no tip-toeing or squatting going on:


This is a particularly lovely picture of Olivia with her daddy, uncle, grandad and cousins:


Afterwards the immediate family went back to Gerry and Judy’s for a drink in the garden, sitting in the sunshine which was rather pleasant. At Helen’s request, we got a very nice photo of Joe with Olivia on his lap:


The day flew by and before long it was time for us to take our leave as we were going to a BBQ with Helen and Mike’s friends. It was our first BBQ of the year and very nice, though it did get quite chilly in the evening. It was nice of everyone (rugby club friends of Helen and Mike’s) to welcome us too. By the time we got back to the house, I was quite cold, though that may well have been as much to do with tiredness as the weather, so it was quite nice to relax in front of the TV for a while before turning in.

Billy, Raji and I had a long drive on the Monday but we managed to squeeze in a quick visit for a coffee with Judy, Gerry, Dave, Judy and Olivia before we left – it would have been such a shame not to have had the chance to see them again before we left and I’m pleased we managed to fit it in. We then had a smooth journey home and arrived around 9pm.

It had been lovely to see the family again – and meet some for the first time – and we really must try not to leave it too long before seeing them next time.

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