First Stop: Bristol

On Thursday, having had to wait for Raji’s suit to be dry cleaned, we finally set off for Bristol in the afternoon, which meant, of course, that we hit Birmingham at the wrong time! We had also encountered roadworks along the way and eventually arrived in Bristol 7.5 hours later, and were then faced with an awful hotel car park which had tiny spaces, partially blocked by pillars. As the car would be there until Saturday morning, I was keen to do the fiddly stuff on arrival whilst it was quiet, so attempted to reverse into a very narrow , angled spot, with a pillar sticking out into it – and just could not do it. I was tired, and growing more impatient, when a car stopped and the driver got out and stood behind me trying to guide me in. But I hate being guided – I can’t work out which way they are pointing (allowing for reversal in mirrors) and at times, can’t see the person at all. In the end, he asked if I’d like him to do it for me and I gratefully accepted. After I thanked him with a cuddle, we worked out that he worked there so was probably used to the fiddly parking. At last, I could switch off a bit and was looking forward to relaxing.

We checked in to our room – very basic (which is what it says on the tin) but perfectly adequate for our needs, and it had the benefit of being the same hotel where Billy’s cousins were staying, with their two boys. These are relatives on Billy’s dad’s side so it was unbelievably great that they had come to support Billy and Raji for their mum’s funeral.

After quickly freshening up, we went to meet them and then we all wandered off for a drink. H and M are absolutely lovely and the boys, A and J are equally so – I always feel very comfortable with them all, and I know they are amongst Billy’s favourite relatives. A is 16 and is now 6’8″ and J, at 15 is not far behind! As a group we did attract a few stares!

A and I were in perfect accord at one point as we walked in between some water features – we took one of Billy’s arms each, guided him through the gap and splashed water over him as we went 😀 Oh and how could I not take this chance to tell everyone that A was sporting no eyebrows!?! (He had shaved them off whilst under the influence of alcohol! Need I say more? 😉 )

After a couple of drinks, we went to an Italian restaurant for some food and had a really lovely time. The boys were chatty and fun, and mum and dad were as excellent company as ever – which did Billy good I feel, helping him to relax a bit before tomorrow’s sadness.

(City were playing away to FC Copenhagen in the UEFA Cup and I knew I would not be able to follow it, so Prestwich Blue kindly sent me a half and full time text. 2-2 wasn’t bad I thought, and I was delighted that Ned was one of the scorers. )

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