My Family & Other Animals

No, I’ve no become literary obsessed unless you count my subscriptions to The Beano & “Reader’s Wives”, sorry, I meant to say Times Literary Supplement. Gerard Durrell needn’t worry, I’m not going to be stealing his literary crown.

What do you mean you can tell by the opening paragraph ?

Anyway, on with the blog…

This weekend, I have been in the North East again to see Michelle and to surprise my mother for her 70th birthday. No, contrary to the beliefs of some people I was not aiming to shock her into a heart attack to claim an inheritance.

Yes, my mother was 70 on Thursday and was determined not to have a do to celebrate the occasion. However, you cannot let a birthday like that disappear without recognition. I had arranged with my sister who was seeing my parents on Saturday that she would book extra seats at the pub and Michelle, Josh and I would go, but also that Tom would come up from Kettering for the night and Martin, my brother, would come from Whitby. All to be unannounced to my mother.

As things happened, my mother had decided to get Martin for the weekend anyway (but not invite me! – Hint there mother Winking smile ). Martin knew nothing of the plans though.

Tom, came up to Newcastle on Saturday, but he managed to misplace his railcard before the journey, so only just caught his train. Then the 2nd train he got was late, so he missed his connection for the 3rd one and arrived late in Newcastle, but fortunately only 12 minutes late as the later train was a faster one. Still he made it, and spent most of the journey up studying for his A level exam on 31st January – good lad Smile Michelle and I met him at the station and took him back to Michelle’s for lunch etc.

Before going for a meal, my parents were to go to my sisters for a glass of bubbly. So we arranged with Jacqui to arrive a few minutes later to surprise my mother. Michelle, Josh & I sneaked in as my mother was opening presents and gave her a ( hopefully nice) surprise. We arranged for Tom to come in later as my mother would not think it unusual that he was not up. So, she had a second surprise – still never induced that coronary though – but never mind, I had another plan.

When going out for meals, it is almost impossible to pay for the meal as My father went to pay the bill, only to be told it had been paid. This flummoxed them as they couldn’t work out who had paid the bill or  when. They did not know whether to thank me, Jacqui or Michelle and consequently could not insist on returning the cost of the meal.

[Note to my father- if you are reading this, I paid the bill and it was £850- if you want to credit it to my account Winking smile . The shock of learning I paid the bill will bring on a coronary- if anything will!]

We headed back to Jacqui’s via the Magic Roundabout(S) and sampled the birthday cake. Unfortunately for Josh and I, others liked the cake. Damn you Nigella for such good recipes, even if you are out done in the looks by the chef from Horsley.


Tom & His Grandma with THE Cake (Tom is the one on the left!)



My Parents Share a Romantic moment (It is by their standards)


It was a rather pleasant night out and I hope that Michelle and Josh enjoyed it as much as I did, even if it was like a Chimp’s Tea Party. Looking back over the photos, I think Josh may be ringing Childline to complain about what his mother did to his eye.


So Michelle, please explain what happened to Josh’s eye and why you have a clenched fist? You hadn’t been assaulting him before he got there to ensure he behaved had you?….. “You do not have to say anything, but it may harm your defence if you do not mention, when questioned, something you later rely on in evidence”

Sunday morning, Tom had to go home, so I took him for the 0915 train and offered to buy him some papers to read on the train. He chose a couple as did I. We got to the counter and “I’ve forgotten my wallet” routine was pulled. Poor old Tom fell for it and ended up having to buy my papers as well as his own. I’m embarrassed at having to get a sub off my son. Sorry Tom – I will return the cash – eventually.

The rest of Sunday morning was taken up with watching Josh play football. They lost 5-1 but without some of the saves josh made, it would have been much higher. He must feel like Shay Given did when he played at Newcastle.

Sunday night brought another S&M meal prepared by me. Although the meal was interrupted by some external people playing  (perhaps unwittingly) the S role and causing unnecessary grief.

Still. a good weekend was had by me (and all hopefully) and I am typing the end of this on the train to Carlisle, on my way to Preston for work. The glamour of 1st class rail travel? nope, a rickety , unheated 2nd class only 2 carriage chugger that takes 68 minutes to do less than 40 miles. Luxury it is not. I’m sat here with my coat, hat and gloves on. The train has an odd mix of people on it- some sleeping off last night’s excesses, some students going to Carlisle University and plenty of unhealthy types hacking up their lung linings. Oh I love public transport.


Oh, I forgot to mention a big cheer for Leyton Orient who won on Saturday away at Swansea from the division above them in the FA  Cup and now have a home London Derby with Premiership Arsenal- a full house is guaranteed and no doubt a live TV game. Now, can I get tickets for Michelle & Josh who are down that weekend is the big question.

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