Friday, January 26, 2007

Christmas in the UK - Part 3

It's about time I finished with the holiday stories as we're almost at the end of January.

My maternal cousin, J. and her family were back from France (where they live) for Christmas. They were staying with her sister/my cousin P. and her family for the holidays, and, of course, they live not far from mum, my Aunty L., in Staffordshire.

As I haven't seen any of them in some 23-odd years, and as J. has been particularly kind since Kezia's birth, and all of them since Kezia's illness (I gather that Aunty L. has rung one or twice a week since we first arrived back in the UK in May), we set up a “family reunion”. P. and P. wanted to take advantage of my visit to get away over the New Year weekend but they have seen our cousins and aunty a lot more recently than myself.

We arranged for them all to come up on the 30th, come to the house and then proceed to a local country pub for lunch.

My Aunty L. converted to the Church of the Latter Day Saints (Mormons to you and me) many years ago. I have a couple of work friends (occasional sub-contractors) who have come out here on occasions and who live in Salt Lake City. One's a Mormon, one isn't. The latter B.R. is perhaps the only American I know who understands cricket and I've spent happy hours watching it over beer when he's visited! Non-Mormons are very distinctly a minority in Salt Lake City and the Mormon lifestyle is a constant source of humour to them, an example being the Sunday morning traffic jams as all the Mormons head back to town to attend their local temple meetings!

My other friend K. is the brother of the notorious, and imprisoned, Mormon fundamentalist and polygamist Tom Green (look him up in Wikipedia) – the Mormons haven't permitted polygamy for over a century and, having excommunicated him, obviously don't consider him a Mormon. Anyway, K. has stayed in the fold and drinks Coca-Cola but not coffee - caffeine being prohibited but as coke didn't exist back then it was not put on the original proscribed list ... my Aunty L. didn't agree with this doctrinal interpretation.

B.R. and K. have worked together and been friends for many years. As with other distinct social or religious groups (Jehovah's Witnesses, Catholics, cancer sufferers, homosexuals ...), the Mormons have developed their own humour and comic traditions. For cancer jokes see the Furry Monkey.

Anyway, I digress ... but at least Aunty L. will ensure Kezia will get baptised so we don't have to worry on that score! Aunty L. - you've been very kind to us and it's much appreciated!

Anyway, the whole tribe descended at about 11:30 – Aunty L., cousin P., her spouse and their two daughters, cousin J, her spouse and their daughter. The house could hardly contain us all and we had to spill over into the kitchen. Blimey, my cousins have changed – we've all grown up and my old teenage attitude, “Oh it's sissy to be friends with your female cousins”, was instantly dismissed as I face two grown-up women with all their own life experiences. A short game of football in the front garden with two of my cousins' children and Jaime and then I ordered a taxi for us and we all set off for lunch.

I won't say much about lunch as the photos below say it all – a good time was had by all!

The Tribe

Angus and Kezia at the bar - introducing her young!

Aunty L. hiding behind her fan.

Aunty L. comes out of hiding

Cousin J. and her daughter M.

Cousin P. and her daughters

Finally Kezia looks at the camera and I get the flash right

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